Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where has the electricity gone?

These days the country plunges into darkness as soon as the sunsets. And even before that, the entire day is spent without electricity, specially in small towns and villages where electricity is not available for almost 12-18 hours a day. This is happening in this modern age when access to electricity and water is being given top priority in almost all countries of the world. Even very under developed countries have at least electricity and water available to its people round the clock.

The question is why we don’t have it? Pakistan is a fairly developing country and stands out in its quality export products throughout the world. But the artificial shortage of electricity is badly affecting the industrial produce and thus the export as well. Besides the industrial needs, the agricultural sector is also hit hard since all tube wells run on electricity. And since the electricity in the villages is almost not available but for a few hours, the tube wells don’t run and thus a shortfall in the agricultural produce too.

Recently, someone shared the various sources of electricity through an e-mail to me. And it surprises me that that the total electricity producing capacity of the country stands at some 21000 MW, while the general demand ranges between 12000-15000 MW. So the big question again is: Why we have shortage of electricity and why the total installed capacity is not being utilized to rid the country of the menace of load shedding.

If we look back, just a few years back, in the days of the previous regime, there was no load shedding. And the moment democracy returned to the country, electricity became scarce. Isn’t it interesting? There have been news that after the much touted IPP under the patronage of the government of the present ruling party, now RPP (Rental Power Producers) are being introduced to address the shortage of the electricity. Such steps should have been taken if the consumption or the demand had exceeded the present installed capacity. Now even when we have means to produce electricity, as it has been produced in the previous regime, then why we don’t produce more to address its shortage and why we are resorting to RPPs?

The common citizen, and all the tax payers, do deserve a convincing answer to their woes, inconvenience and loss they are accruing from the shortage of electricity. Would there be any answer?


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