Surge in generator imports gives reality check to govt claims

Published May 31, 2015
Power outage is a routine now in the name of maintenance, faults and feeder trips, industrialists say.
Power outage is a routine now in the name of maintenance, faults and feeder trips, industrialists say.

KARACHI: The government’s claim of record improvement in power generation and zero load-shedding in industrial sectors got a reality check on Saturday as data showed import bill of power generating machines went through the roof in April.

Anticipating further load-shedding in the coming months, traders and industrialists imported generators worth $162 million in April 2015 alone, a sharp rise compared to $86m in March 2015 and $77.7m in April 2014.

According to the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), generator imports stood at $1.1 billion during the first 10 months (July-April) of this fiscal year, up by 26 per cent compared to $873m a year ago. The figure was $1.07bn in 2013-14 and $958.6m in 2012-13.

The government claimed a day back through print media ad campaign that there was zero load-shedding in industries for four months (November, December 2014 and February, March 2015), followed by 18-hour daily power supply from April to May 25, and then zero load-shedding again from May 25 onwards.

When the government came to power in 2013, there was 12 hours’ load-shedding, which reduced to zero from November 2014 to March 2015, then rose again to six hours from April to May 25, and then again zero from May 25 onwards, the advertisement further stated.

Industrialists are not clear whether the government’s rosy picture applies only to Punjab or covers entire industrial units of the country.

“Industries continue to import generators. The export-oriented ones, in particular, have two to three standby generators to meet their shipment deadlines,” said Mohammad Jawed Bilwani, chairman of Site Association of Industry (SAI).

Dismissing the government’s claim of zero load-shedding, he said power outages are a routine now in the shape of maintenance, faults and feeder trips. Voltage fluctuation is also normal. Moreover, load-shedding in many industrial units is also done in case they are located near a residential area, he said.

“Had there been enough power supply to the industries, the generator imports would have slowed down sharply,” he said.

Mr Bilwani said many industrial units have set up power houses in their respective units besides creating extra job to look after the standby generators. “I think 70-80pc industries have power generators.”

North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry’s (NKATI) Chairman A. Rasheed Fodderwala also agreed that load-shedding is being carried out in the name of maintenance, feeder trips and faults. Industries remain without power for four to six hours, he said.

He believed industrialists continue purchasing generators due to uncertain power situation. Out of 2,000 units in the area, around 60-70pc units have power generators. Imports of generators are going up despite the fact that no new industries are coming up in the area, he said.

Pakistan Machinery Merchants Group (PMMG) President Khurram Saigol said imports of industrial generators have been on the rise while residential power machines have fallen.

He said used generators are also arriving, while small generators for residential use are finding way through illegal channels.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

New funds
27 Feb, 2024

New funds

PAKISTAN plans to seek a new loan of $6bn from the IMF under its Extended Fund Facility for a period of three years,...
Missing link
27 Feb, 2024

Missing link

WITH most of Punjab and KP now accessible via motorways, which have greatly eased road travel for the bulk of the...
Tragedy averted
Updated 27 Feb, 2024

Tragedy averted

Pakistan must shed the layers of intolerance that have been allowed to permeate society.
Spirit of ’74
26 Feb, 2024

Spirit of ’74

FOR three days in 1974, starting Feb 22, Lahore witnessed an epochal meeting of 38 Muslim nations as it hosted the...
Silence strategy
Updated 26 Feb, 2024

Silence strategy

Attempts at internet censorship only serve to tarnish Pakistan’s image globally and betray the democratic principles the country purports to uphold.
Nepra’s reluctance
26 Feb, 2024

Nepra’s reluctance

WHAT is the point in having a regulator that does not punish the entities it oversees for misconduct and...