THIS is with reference to the letter ‘Privatisation can be the game-changer’ (April 1). It is true that handing over distribution companies (Discos) to the provinces is not the long-term solution to the worsening power supply system. In fact, it may work negatively due to lack of support from the centre.

As such, privatisation, say, without competition is like leaving one monopoly, and entering another. Unless the consumers have a choice to select the service provider, power tariffs cannot be controlled because the new monopoly will try to maximise its profit by tweaking the tariff.

The newcomers will only invest in various schemes to ensure greater profit, as has been the case with K-Electric (KE), which does not invest in power-generation, and, instead, borrows it from the national grid.

In this scenario, the solution is to first carry out transparent techno-economic studies considering all pros and cons of the different alternatives, and only then can the right course of action be found and adopted. Half-hearted decisions will never work.

It goes without saying that the state should, in the meantime, take concrete steps to root out corruption as well as inefficiency from society. Corrective measures to ensure effective, efficient administration across the country will also be of much help.

Problems of power distribution system should be studied and solved holistically in conjunction with overall generation as well as transmission domains to ensure better coordination between the entities concerned and matching development of the national power sector.

Undoubtedly, it is an uphill task to reform Pakistan’s power sector, but someone will have to do it at some point in time. Why not now?

It is hoped the government will take due steps in this regard. Only this can ensure revival of our ailing power sector.

Riaz Bhutta
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2024

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