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Lahore
Friday, May 20, 2022
EditorialRespite from menace of load-shedding

Respite from menace of load-shedding

The menace of load-shedding is one of the national issues, which has remained unsolved for decades and successive governments have failed to bring a permanent solution to this problem. This summer too, the country has been in the grip of persistent load-shedding and power outages have left citizens upset in numerous cities. In this situation, one finds it difficult to believe the statement of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has claimed that there would be zero load-shedding from May 1. In this regard, under a makeshift arrangement, 220 million standard cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of natural gas will be diverted from fertiliser plants and captive power plants (CPPs) of the industrial sector to run more power plants. The predicament of harsh summer conditions coupled with unannounced load-shedding has made life a living hell in Pakistan. Citizens are the ultimate sufferers of this mismanagement on the part of the government. While traditional blame game remains a hallmark of every new government’s policy of holding the previous government responsible for the energy crisis. Currently, up to 20-hour power cuts are being reported in rural areas, while urban areas are experiencing eight to 12 hours of daily load-shedding. Non-availability of electricity is taking its toll on the poor who are unable to make both ends meet. The power crisis has badly affected the poor, and people from the lower and middle classes who earn their living through small businesses. The suspension of electricity has increased the cost of production making it difficult for small traders and businessmen to maintain their profit ratio. Moreover, power outages are making people more frustrated and stressed because they have to perform their routine work in scorching weather conditions.

Reportedly, the total power generation presently stands at 18,031MW, while the demand hovers around 25,500MW in the country. Our reliance on costly furnace oil, gas and coal is also taking a toll on our economy while the provision of cheap hydropower requires the completion of big dam projects, which will take time. So, there is no hope that the energy crisis will end in the near future. The harsh summer conditions are already becoming unbearable and the PML-N government will have to focus on long term measures instead of taking refuge in make-shift arrangements. Until the root causes of the crisis are removed, the situation is unlikely to improve. The government needs to rectify all technical faults and upgrade the national grid and transmission lines so that the increasing demand for energy could be sustained. The energy crisis has already created havoc in the lives of the people with electricity outages of 10-12 hours a day in many parts of the country. It is high time the government made some concerted efforts to end this crisis; otherwise, it would lead to more chaos in the country, a situation that Pakistan is in no position to withstand as it continues to battle several issues on several fronts. A Non-stop supply of electricity is a basic necessity, not a luxury that needs to be fought or longed for.

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