Energy Crisis in Pakistan

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Energy is now the talk of town in Pakistan. Starting from house wives, traders, businessmen, students, ministers all the victims of the shortage of energy. Karachi the biggest city experiencing up to 12 hours load shedding in peak hot weather and during the board exams are on the way. Everybody now became the expert of energy and all the figures are on finger tips. Some time the shortage is 200 MW sometime 2500 MW. Pakistan is in the grip of a serious energy crisis that is affecting all sectors of the economy and the various segments of the society. As the situation stands to-day, there are hardly any immediate solutions to resolve the issue. A change of attitude and a change of life style is needed at the national level which should be triggered by the ruling elite and followed by all segments of the society that have access to electricity. At best there could be some short and long-term solutions to the crisis but they need immediate planning and execution with an enormous investment. Dr Khalil Ahmed of Alternate Solutions Institute has succinctly put this in the following words: It is to live in a Guantanamo Bay of uncertainty’. He says ‘even if we do not resort to unruly economic, social, moral, psychological behavior, we feel depressed to the core of our deepest selves and what is more dangerous is that our trust in the system, nation and country evaporates in the air, …. Transforming us, the lowly citizens of this elitist country into neurotic and psychotic beings’. The multidimensional ongoing energy crisis has been having a knock on the life of every Pakistani. Without sufficient energy the wheel can't run on roads, industry and agriculture can't sustain, hospitals and operation theaters can't function, schools and laboratories can't work and public and private sector businesses can't operate. Electricity, which is the lifeblood of modern societies, provides a wide range of services essential to everyday life, including running hospitals, schools and businesses, heating, cooling and lighting in homes and in work, preserving food commercially and at home, pumping fresh water supplies and sewage, maintaining the flow of traffic, operating communications systems, internet and information portals and providing power for a wide range of appliances. Low access to better energy services is one aspects of poverty as energy choices of poor households are influenced by the poverty. However, the deprivations caused by energy scarcity on human development are much more significant than the energy poverty itself. Such deprivations have a larger impact on rural households in general, and women in particular. For instance, heavy use of biomass affects women's health due to indoor air pollution, and the heavy workload for managing biomass resources not only consumes maximum time and energy of women but can cause miscarriage and uterine prolapsed impacting negatively on their production and reproduction capacities. ORIGIN OF CRISIS:

Pakistan electric power sector is characterised by chronic problems of low productivity, higher system losses and low financial profitability. Then there are acute shortages. Despite nearly 8% annual increase in the demand of electricity, no power plant or power generation unit has been installed for last 8-9 years in Pakistan. This, surely, is one major reason for such a short fall? But why have we come to this pass? Why no such plant has been installed? Where were the planners and people in authority? Were they not thinking? Were they not concerned? Or even why should it depends upon individuals to have to be concerned and think? Where is the institutional responsibility? Then there are technical problems and financial losses due to under pricing and subsidizing, on the ground of poverty alleviation and industrial development ,and the defaulted payments. Analysis brings for the various factors that have combined together to land Pakistan into this mess.

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