Pakistan continues to go through an energy crises which has only become more severe from time to time. It is not just slowing down the economy but making life hell for the majority of the citizens. The energy needs of Pakistan are around 15,000 to 20000 MW per day, however currently it is creating only around 11,500 MW, rendering a shortage of 4000 to 9000 MW per day.
With time, situation may have improved with the inauguration of many new projects and power plants, however the overall problem remains the same.
Here are some of the causes, effects, and solution to the energy crises faced by Pakistan:
• Inefficient Power Plants:
Part of the reason, shortfall exists is inefficient and outdated power plants that are unable to generate electricity that meets the national demand. Moreover, due to cash crunch the plants are unable to operate at the optimum capacity, since they don’t have enough funds to buy the necessary amount of furnace oil.
• Electricity Theft:
Electricity theft can be termed as the mother of all evils causing the energy crises. The inefficiencies of the transmission and distribution system, cause this theft to take place, increasing the cost of supplying electricity. Instead of curbing this, the supply companies simply shift the burden of cost to the paying customers. A staggering Rs12.35bn worth of losses were reported owing to electricity theft in the Punjab area, whereas Rs16.5bn in Sindh contributing to a total of Rs59.174b throughout Pakistan.
• Lack of Dams:
Currently, the bulk of electricity being supplied comes from the hydroelectric plants and IPPs, both of whom heavily depend upon the availability of water in the dams. Therefore, whenever the water levels drop low, so does the electricity’s supply. Pakistan’s failure to construct a major dam after Tarbellawhich was in the seventies, has greatly exacerbated the problem. Just a few months ago, the water management authority – WAPDA announced that water capacity had fallen to 30%.
• Public Unrest:
Prolonged outages of electricity as well as gas result in public unrest on a mass level creating chaos. This chaos then manifests itself into citizens coming out on streets and disturbing the law and order situation. Many such incidents have occurred, where outraged citizens caused loss of property as well as halting the economic activity. Moreover, many times students are unable to study for their exams, forcing them to hire Essay Writer Services online for their assigned assignments.
• Economic Loss:
The capacity utilization which pertains to how much energy is utilized for production in factories, falls down to alarmingly low levels due to lack of energy, interruptions in supply. This renders Pakistan unable to export the surplus materials, forcing the country to import instead, resulting in the depletion of the foreign exchange reserves.
Moreover, the Independent Power Plants, that require exorbitant sums to create energy for the purpose of attenuating the shortfall, are also draining the resources of the country since they are operated by foreign companies. In the long run, this hampering of economic growth results in a low GDP.
The closure of industry caused by energy failures results in the subsequent unemployment leading to high levels of poverty.In a country where already 30% of the population is living below the poverty line, this leads to further worsening of situation.
• Building more Dams:
It is high time that Pakistan invests in the construction of more dams, since the electricity demand is increasing every year and the current capacity of the dams is not enough in fulfilling that demand.
• Investing in Renewable Energy:
Only renewable energy can provide sustained, clean, pollution free and environment friendly electricity, which includes hydro power, wind energy, solar energy and tidal energy. Due to the advantages offered by renewable energy which includes low cost, the world has made great strides in shifting from conventional to renewable energy. However, Pakistan continues to heavily rely on furnace oil to produce electricity.
• Curbing Electricity Theft:
Electricity theft is the biggest impediment in the uninterrupted supply of electricity. Unless the government introduces large scale measures to curb this problem, by introducing strict penalties for the culprits, and getting them implemented, it will continue to be one of the major reasons contributing towards the energy crises. Such measures on the government’s part are the need of the day.