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Load shedding: No end in sight?

May 22, 2013

Summer is peaking in most parts of Pakistan, and with the unyielding heat comes renewed promises of ending load shedding for once and for all.

But as everyone knows, the energy crisis Pakistan is facing can’t be solved with a magic wand. The power sector itself is corrupt, inefficient and badly managed.

The circular debt is also a problem that prevents electricity from being restored in the suffering public’s homes. Consumers, including the public, the government, and private companies all owe huge sums of money to electricity distribution companies.

The newly-elected government knows, if from nothing else than from its own election by the people, that load shedding was the key issue for voters, and the downfall of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

As a result, Nawaz Sharif has already held a meeting to address the issue. His brother, Shahbaz has said that load shedding will end in two years, a task which most say is impossible if looking at the grave and deep-rooted nature of the problem.

In the meanwhile, the caretaker power minister announced the caretaker government’s decision to inject Rs 22 billion into the power sector, to provide some much needed relief. At the same time, he admitted that this was at best a stop-gap measure, which wasn’t doing anything to address the energy crisis in the long run.

Soon after that, the Chinese premier announced that China and Pakistan should make cooperate on power generation as a priority, while visiting Pakistan on Wednesday. The detail of this ‘cooperation’ is yet to be revealed.

What is also certain is that certain painful decisions will have to be taken to resolve the crisis – including raising prices, which may not be the most popular choice but is apparently necessary.

What do you think the government can do to resolve the energy crisis on an urgent basis? If long term measures such as building dams and using coal reserves are an option, what do you appropriate sources of funding? Is international support in terms of loans a good thing or a bad thing? Do you support the idea of higher prices of electricity if it means it brings an end to the energy crisis in the long run?

Dawn.com invites its readers to share its views.