By Naseem Sheikh WE BELIEVE that electricity exists, because its life line of the country and the electric company keeps sending us bills for it and is in severe danger, although we cannot consume it all 24 hours.Pakistan is in the grip of a serious energy crisis that is affecting all sectors of the economy and the various segments of the society. LuckilyPakistan has blessed by many types of resources but lack of attention and sincerity among authority leaders and concerned department all resources are just for name of appreciations rather than utilization.
For years, the matter of balancingPakistan’s demand and supply for electricity has remained a largely unresolved matter.Pakistanfaces a significant challenge in revamping its network responsible for the supply of electricity.
Pakistans energy infrastructure is not well developed, to a certain extent it is considered to be underdeveloped and poorly managed. Currently the country is facing severe energy crisis. Even despite the fact that of strong economic growth, rising energy demand during past decade, no serious efforts have been made to install new capacity of generation.
Because of rapid demand growth, transmission losses due to outdated infrastructure, power theft, and seasonal reductions in the availability of hydropower have worsened the situation. Consequently, the demand exceeds supply and hence load-shedding is a common phenomenon through power shutdown. The power cuts during this time amounted to 20 to 22 hours a day mostly in rural or semi urban cities and even cities likeKarachiis experiencing more than 18 hours of load shedding.
Pakistanneeds around 15,000 to 20,000 MW electricity per day, however, currently the production is about 11,500 MW per day hence there is a shortfall of about 4,000 to 9,000 MW per day.
According to an official report of 2004; “the gap between firm supply and peak hours demand has already been shrunk to three digit (440 MW) during this fiscal and will slip into negative columns next year (-441 MW) and further intensify to (-1,457 MW) during the financial year 2006-07”.
The report further maintained that the difference between firm supply and peak demand is estimated at 5,529 MW by the year 2009-10 when firm electricity supply will stand at 15,055 MW against peak demand of 20,584 MW. And this is a common fact of today.
In June 2011, The National Assembly Standing Committee for Water and Power meeting was told that Mangla Dam would be filled up to 1,210 feet by the end of this year. This will enhance the water storing capacity of the dam by 0.8 million acres. The Standing Committee further told by Chairman Wapda Shakil Durrani that load shedding cannot be overcome until 2018 and power demand would soar to 130,000 megawatt by 2030.
The horrifying earthquake of 2005 and during floods of 2010 power stations, power distribution and transmission and other energy infrastructures were damaged. During the recent floods the newly constructed Jinnah hydroelectric power plant was flooded in addition to severe damages to transmission and distribution network and installations while several power plants and refineries were threatened by rising waters and had to be shut down. Natural gas field output had to be reduced as the flood waters approached the wells.
There has also been some concern by Pakistani nuclear activists over the effect of natural disasters on nuclear plants especially over the Chashma Nuclear Power Complex, since the plant lies over a geological fault.
The entire circular debt system has plagued the entire system as banks, PSO, OGDCL, PPL, POL and refineries are all on the verge of collapse. Intezar Mehdi, a corporate lawyer and energy expert associated with some foreign investors in the local power sector said, “Short-sightedness of experts and the government is not only restricted to the power sector, but also the entire economy is stuck with it.” Mehdi further added, “The consequences of bad energy and petroleum policy, or the lack of a holistic view has now been termed as circular debt.”
The electricity prices charged from the end-consumers and its recovery had been the victim of governments incompetence and is influenced by the government ofPakistans whims, compulsions and political calculus. As a result, National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) is unable to recover full cost recovery and surplus, he said.
About the main reason of non-recovery, Mehdi said that one of the reasons for non-recovery is the non-payment of bills by the customers. However, he said, a huge chunk could not be recovered due to misreporting, disguised losses and theft, masqueraded as inflated bills.
Mehdi further added that there is no consistent gas supply for the four gas and diesel-based IPPs at Muridke, Balloki, Qadirabad and Sheikhupura, which got gas on rotational basis. The alternative, diesel firing, is apparently worse as the incremental cash loss is higher, hence, more circular debt.
Need of the hour is in the future, Pakistan must adopt other technologies for generating power from renewable energy sources, such as municipal waste and landfill methane geothermal recovery, anaerobic biomass gasification, biological fuels, fuel cells and ocean waves. “Faith is like electricity. You can’t see it, but you can see the light.” This is very famous quotation but as now days electricity shortage is on full boom so how we faith on government for providing us 24 hours nonstop electricity because to further turn darker Pakistan to brighter Pakistan which is not in favor of few un seen so called Powers.