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TAXILA, May 27: The price of alternate energy products such as Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) and generators has skyrocketed and their manufacturers are fleecing customers by taking advantage of the prolonged power outages.

During a survey conducted by this reporter on Monday, it was observed that the sale of these items had increased in the twin cities of Taxila and Wah Cantt.

Chaudhry Javaid, a generator dealer in Aslam Market (Wah Cantt) said the past 10 days had brought a 40 percent increase in sales. “The demand for Chinese generators is increasing gradually, and have already grabbed 60 percent of the market share,” he said.

On the other hand, Noman Ali, a dealer of imported and local UPS in Taxila, said the demand for locally manufactured UPS had doubled while Chinese UPS were facing less demand due to their high cost and high repairing charges.

Although the price of UPS and generators is high, people have to arrange for these to get some relief from the 18 hours of loadshedding.

Sheikh Zia, an electronics dealer in Taxila, said the price of generators had doubled within a year, giving a boost to their sale.

“The price of a small generator, used in houses and shops, was Rs 16,000 last year, but is now being sold for Rs23,000 to Rs26,000. The demand for heavy-duty generators, used for running air-conditioners etc, is between Rs 76,000 and Rs102,000,” he said.

It was also observed that traders and dealers of famous brands of UPS are selling their products at different rates and earning a huge margin. The prices have now gone beyond the purchasing power of most people, and only those who are well off are able to purchase this essential commodity.

A UPS dealer Tauqeer Shah said UPS were preferred over generators as the latter made a lot of noise adding that a powerful UPS setup could simultaneously operate computers, fans and lights.

It was also revealed during the survey that the local market was facing an ‘artificial shortage’ of certain parts of locally manufactured UPS as a handful of dealers had formed a cartel to manipulate prices.

Consumers complained that most UPS manufacturers were using silver wires in the transformers instead of the heavy-duty copper wire. A silver wire UPS has a short life span and cannot withstand long spells of power outages as it heats up and burns away quickly.