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Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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EditorialEnergy conservation measures

Energy conservation measures

The fictional belief that has been prevalent for thousands of years that God created the Earth and the universe in six days and rested the seventh day, led the world to set daily working hours and a weekly day off all over the world. Then the world moved to two weekly days off for efficient working and as a cost-cutting measure. Pakistan, being an energy-starved country, has lately woken up to the energy crisis, so the government has introduced a set of measures to regulate workplace and marketing working hours and weekly days off, and in this regard, the National Economic Council (NEC) has set the business timing for markets till 8:30pm. If the working regime is fully implemented, the government will be able to overcome the shortage of electricity and save revenues incurred on costly imported energy fuels. As the NEC has representation from all the four provinces, the promising thing is that the decision will be implemented all over the country. But the implementation phase is not as easy as the announcement dubs, as the shopkeepers tend to resist whenever the government tries to regulate the working hours. We have seen the stubbornness of shopkeepers during the lockdowns when they refused to obey government orders to keep shutters down. Shopkeepers tend to defy government orders and try to get power supplies through generators even if the government cuts off electricity supply to them. This is the real test of chief ministers to enforce the NEC decisions to counter the energy crisis through markets’ closure at 8.30pm. Right now, there is a 4,000 MW shortfall of electricity and the gap between the demand and supply is increasing. The national grid has 22,000 MW running while the requirement is 26,000 MW, which is likely to increase in the coming months, thanks to severe weather conditions. The electricity shortage hits hard industries, which in turn, breeds layoff and low production.

Utilizing the sunshine hours for business activities is being practiced in developed countries. Similarly, the usage of the modern technology, which facilitates remote working and work-from-home arrangements, should be utilized to help businesses work smoothly. Thankfully, the government has decided to resume two weekly days off for government and private offices, but it should enforce a partial, if not full, work-from-home regime. The strategy was tested during the lockdowns and it really worked well, saving lives and revenues in those depressing times. Other than looking for technology-oriented solutions and smart working, the government must try to introduce such policies, which help strengthen the economy. Facing a record external account deficit, and energy shortfall, the government hardly sees a respite in the international oil markets. Petroleum products’ prices are at an all time high. The government’s only recue avenue is the passage of a relief package deal from the International Monetary Fund bosses. The government has taken a flurry of difficult decisions to meet the IMF terms. The real relief for the public, however, lies in the provision of basic necessities of life, job opportunities and safe living to the public.

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