THE power situation has become grimmer in the last few weeks in parts of the country. Unfortunately, the worst is yet to come, particularly in Punjab, as temperatures rise and people switch on cooling devices. Not including Karachi, the countrywide electrici-ty shortfall has crossed 4,000MW because of insufficient fuel for production and a reduction in hydel generation. This shortfall averaged 7000MW at its peak last summer, leaving consumers to cope with daily power cuts of eight to 10 hours. As the gap widens, power distribution companies in Punjab have even started cutting supplies to industry on dedicated feeders to reduce shortages for urban domestic and commercial consumers. The industrial units on common feeders providing electricity to a mix of users are facing cuts of up to 12 hours. This could intensify feelings that Punjab’s industry is facing discrimination. The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, the body representing the powerful textile fac-tory owners, has already cried foul, accusing the caretaker government of meting out shabby treatment to the province’s industry. Other business associations and chambers of commerce and industry in Punjab have also joined the chorus. They are demanding that all provinces should equally bear the burden of power cuts. Their concerns are valid. The power crunch is making them uncompetitive not only in the international markets but also in the domestic market vis-à-vis their competitors in Karachi and other parts of the country.

It would be wrong to blame the caretakers for the crisis. Growing demand, dwindling generation, huge untargeted power subsidies, distribution losses, electricity theft and years of mismanagement at the highest level have brought the country to such a pass. But the caretakers can improve the situation to some extent. They could ensure continuous gas supply for factories with in-house generation capacity and the uninterrupted availability of electricity to the rest of the industry to run at least two shifts a day, as well as take steps for the optimal utilisation of installed generation capacity so that the miseries of manufacturers and other consumers are minimised.

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Comments (4)

April 10, 2013 6:41 am
All of the industry in Pakistan should be on equal footing.
April 10, 2013 6:48 am
Declare electricity infrastructure public property and see the crisis solve itself. PK have infratructure to produce around 20K MW of electricity against the demand of 15-16K MW Privitisation of key energy resources to foreign and local capitalist is killing Pakistan and resulting in high price bills and holding the country hostage.
April 10, 2013 1:12 pm
Thank you for highlighting this issue, though too late. Since past 5 years, Punjab is facing this problem. Beside the Industry in Punjab is discriminated, you would not believe that in second big city of the Country i.e. Lahore, households are provided with 6 hours of electricity in past 5 days. It has improved to 8 and 10 hours from yesterday.
April 11, 2013 12:35 am
i live in dha lahore it is considered one of the most posh area in the entire country, here we face 16 hours of load shedding every day since more then one month and see no light at the end of the tunnel. friends in the outskirts tell they get electricity for only 4 hours every day. if the situation does not get better punjabis will come on the streets then there will be chaos and the entire nation will feel the effects.
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