Generator sales shoot up in Karachi due to loadshedding, prolonged power cuts

Updated 11 Jul 2020

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Generators on sale in the Frere Road area.—Fahim Siddiqi/White Star
Generators on sale in the Frere Road area.—Fahim Siddiqi/White Star

KARACHI: Prolonged loadshedding by K-Electric in residential areas coupled with rising temperatures in the last several days has boosted the sales of generators in the metropolis.

Dealers said many people were buying generators because their loved ones suffering from Covid-19 were in home isolation and could not afford to stay at home without electricity.

Sikandar Shahzada, the owner of a generator company, said he had been selling 30-40 portable generators on a daily basis these days compared to two to four units around two weeks back.

While recalling bad sales days in the same period last year due to improved power supply and very high prices of generators, he said the current heat spell had compelled many people to buy a one kVA portable generator to at least light up fans and LED bulbs even if they had to borrow money for this.

He said frequent and long spells of loadshedding were highly alarming for those who did not have money to buy generators and were looking after a Covid-19 patient at home.

Traders say people are even borrowing money to buy a unit to take care of relatives suffering from Covid-19

Stable prices despite devaluation

He said that the prices of generators had so far not risen this year despite continuous devaluation of the rupee against the dollar. “Shopkeepers have old stocks of last year and they want to clear it at any cost.

“Loadshedding and heatwave are now proving to be a blessing in disguise for such traders in clearing their last year’s unsold stocks,” he said.

Mr Shahzada said compared to Karachi power loadshedding was so far under control in Punjab, while Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were also experiencing power cuts.

He said people were moving towards solar panels though their installation cost was higher.

Pakistan Machinery Merchants Group president Khurram Saigal said buying activities in power generating machines had revived with high pace. He said the activity remained sluggish last year and shopkeepers were worried about the pile-up inventory of last year.

“Shopkeepers have been selling an average 10 units a day in the last one week as compared to two to three units prior to power cuts and rising temperature,” he said.

He also confirmed that the generators’ prices had remained unchanged since last year despite higher import cost on account of rupee depreciation against the dollar.

But, there are many consumers who cannot afford to purchase generators due to rising cost of living and especially when they are looking after coronavirus patients at home who need uninterrupted power supply to avoid any serious situation.

He said people were buying one kVA generator (Rs18,000-Rs24,000) to 2.5kVA (Rs35,000-Rs45,000) units mostly of Chinese brand. Some people were also purchasing 6kVA generators for running their air-conditioners.

According to the figures released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Pakistan’s total import of power generating machines in July-May 2019-2020 came down by 7.6 per cent to $1.097 billion.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2020