Pakistan faces severe Power Crisis

These days, Pakistan is passing through worst Power Crisis of its history. The trickle down effect of inefficiency and mismanagement of last 9 years is in full flow now and the nation is now reaping what was sown by Musharraf regime.

Unfortunately, the elected Parliament and Government are as dysfunctional as their predecessors. Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is as incompetent as Liaquat Jatoi, the guy he succeeded as Minister for Water and Power. Raja Pervaiz Asharf spends more time representing his party co-chairman in TV debates, participating in political negotiations, renaming roads and doing everything else that is not related to his portfolio.

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

Barely two weeks back, the good Minister informed National Assembly that the austerity drive has helped the government save 500MW of electricity, to reduce power outage. According to him, the government took effective steps to control power outage including advancing the clock, closure of shopping mall at 2100 hours and reducing the use of air-conditioners and streetlights.

However, ground realities defy government’s statements. Advancing the clock resulted in confusion and now people are using dual clock system. Shopping malls are not complying with closure at 2100 hours and markets remain partially open on Friday and close on Sunday while government announced full closure on Friday, to save electricity.

Also, according to Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), all power generation units across the country are producing much below their capacity, the reason being drastic increase in fuel prices. The government raised oil prices when oil traded at $145 per barrel but prices were not revised when oil slided back to $112 per barrel. As majority of producers use oil as primary mean of power generation, they are badly affected while government is not providing any relief.

The power supply situation worsened in last 2-3 days. Unscheduled load shedding of up to 16 hours started across the country.
As The News reports:

Almost all areas of Karachi were hit by 16 hours of load shedding. Other parts of Sindh including Hyderabad, Qasimabad, Jamshoro, Kotri, Sehwan, Dadu, Khairpur Nathanshah, Naushehroferoze, Qazi Ahmad, Nawabshah, Thatta, Matiari, Sukkur, Larkana, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Obaro equally suffered from power outage.

Unannounced load shedding in the different cities of Pujab continuing for 18/20 hours unabated, people in Lahore stand extremely vexed by the load shedding and business activities have come to a halt. The protesters in Okara also went violent breaking the windowpanes of Quetta Express at the railway station besides blocking the railway track. Hundreds of people staged protest at Bhawalnagar against 18 hours of load shedding and blocked the Bhawalpur-Manchanabad road. Pakpattan women came out on the streets in protest and forced the closure of shops in the town. The people demonstrated against power outage at Gojranawala, Sialkot, Sahiwal, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Sangla Hill, Kasur and other areas of Punjab.

In NWFP, Peshawar areas Hashtnagri, Kachchi Mohalla, Lahori Gate, Ganj Gate and other areas’ people suffering prolonged power outage protested against Wapda, voiced slogans, burnt tyres, pelted stones on passing vehicles and blocked the G. T. Road near Hashnagri for all sorts of traffic. The situation is no better in Swat, Kohat, Mardan, Charsadda, Naushehra, Mansehra, Balakot and other areas of NWFP.

All across Balochistan including Quetta life stands paralyzed due to protracted load shedding. Quetta Electric Supply Company said that they are forced to resort to load shedding in Quetta for 6 hours, in the district headquarters for 8 hours, while in the rural areas for 12 hours. Contrary to the claims of the concerned officials, Quetta several areas witnessing load shedding for 8/10 hours and protracted load shedding at district Bolan, Sibi, Naseerabad, Jafferabad, Khuzdar, Qalat, Mastung, Naushki,

This is high time for the government and particularly the ministry of Water and Power to take power crisis seriously. People of Pakistan are already frustrated with political uncertainty, inflation, raise in petrol prices and street crime. Their patience should not be tested further.


6 thoughts on “Pakistan faces severe Power Crisis”

  1. In a country where ministries are being dished out not on the basis of qualification/merit but rather on the bases of clout in the party and loyalties with the party leadership this thing is bound to happen.
    The problem is that all our leaders those in power and those in opposition do not feel the scorching heat as starting from their bathrooms till their cars everything is air conditioned and if at all there is some sort load shedding in their area they conveniently switch over to generators.
    Thus,the problem cannot be solved by those who do not know what the load shedding means but by those who are affected by this.
    Moreover,the government after convincing the people that there is acute power crisis in the country wants to give more contracts to their loved ones for installation of rental power plants and thus want to make millions through these contracts.After,such a worst power crisis in the country, now they get a free hand to do whatever they feel like as no one is going to challenge these contracts.As people are already fed up with load shedding.
    So ultimately people will get the electricity (at costly rates) and they will make lot of money……….And the crisis will be over for the time being till another government will come in power…..

  2. Shakir Saab!!!!!

    It has been too long.

    Actually, I have a close friend in Sui Northern Gas company –who is also following closely these developments

    he also says the same thing. Gas companies are being owed Rs 300 billion

    but if this is an issue of just cash, then why cant we just use these aid moneys — or even funds we have in Forex reserves???

    Zardari is under so much pressure to deliver….Sharif knows he has the popular support. Both men are richest men in Pakistan. Why dont they together dish out their personal income on this matter (as a show of solidarity)

    I am usually based in Peshawar….but for the past month i have been in Lahore — and my God — the load-shedding here is absurd!!!!! Every other hour!

    This is most unacceptable.

    So in the end, you are telling me that 3.75 billion dollars is the only thing keeping 173 million people from having un-hindered electricity?????

  3. @ Gen. Ayub: we don’t need to import or rent power plants at all. Our existing installed capacity is sufficient. But the government doesn’t have the money (about Rs. 200 billion) that it owes the power companies, which are therefore not able to operate at full capacity. Read Farrukh Salim’s articles in The News on the rental power scam, which will enrich a few friends of you-know-who.

  4. all we need to do in the short-run is rent Caterpiller power generation units — each one generates about 30 megawatts.

    If govt import 200 of those to Pakistan from the US on emergency basis (costing about 160 million which we could use via this ‘aid’ money) i can guarantee u we would meet our shortfalls in the short run, until we could generate the capacity on our own

    the problem is, we have a govt. which lacks direction and long-term solutions

  5. Raja sahab is now “hoping” that the crisis “may” end in December2009.
    Maybe a long march is awaited to solve crises as well. Since government has miserably failed to act. Easier solution that will accelerate the end to crisis is to take all power out of lives of afew gentleman for 24 hrs. I think One day will be enough. This is INSANE and utter shamelessness really.

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