Energy conference falls flat to overcome power crisis

SPECIAL REPORT IBD: Pakistan is fast heading towards the worst kind of energy crisis in the coming summer season when the power shortfall would certainly cross the figure of 6000MW while ironically the political leadership has not come up with any tangible solution to overcome the prevailing crisis, which has shattered the national economy, disrupted the routine life activities in addition to sky-rocketing power tariff raise putting unjustified burden on the already hardened poor masses.
Last weeks energy conference, which was held by the political leadership to devise a workable solution for improving the energy situation in the country, has proved absolutely a futile exercise as no formula was presented on the occasion in this regard, rather, according to energy pundits, it was a political conference aimed at reaping reconciliation between the political forces.
According to the conference recommendations, there would be two weekly holidays in offices across the country while business centres and markets would be closed at 8 pm in the night besides taking initiatives for promoting energy saving lights usage in the country.
The country has witnessed severe protests across the country over the excessive loadshedding of electricity and natural gas, set ablaze vehicles as well as public properties including petrol pumps, banks, utility services buildings in various cities in addition to wheel jams.
“No word has been used about initiating any power generation project in the country. The whole conference was silent about the Rental Power Plants (RPPs) and they have not even touched the issue of relaunching of any of the suspended power generating projects,” Salman Shah, former Finance Minister, commented.
According to him, if the government pays heed to repairing the faulty power plants, it can generate over 1,000 extra MW power from these plants which can significantly help in mitigating the peoples sufferings in this regard.
“There was nothing new in the Lahore energy conference as such proposals and suggestions were also introduced in the past but what had happened is now quite evident from the prevalent energy crisis,” Aslam Goraya, a representative of Punjab traders, said while rejecting the outcome of the conference.
He said that the seriousness on the part of the central government can be gauged that suggestions tabled during the conference were not based on technical grounds as just commitment and statements were raised there, which carry no weight while going through facts.
“The conference had also recommended legislation against power theft, but have such laws ever been implemented in letter and spirit. Have the influential people ever followed such laws to put the system on track,” remarked Rawalpindi traders association office holders.
According to them, 8pm closure time of business centres is just like destroying the trade activities in the country as most of the business activities get pace after the sunset which is their peak business hours. “What had happened with the same closure time rule? In fact, that proposal irrational while on the other hand the authorities had not devised any mechanism to ensure blanket implement of these business timings.”
They raised a question that from where the government manages electricity where the Pakistan cricket team is plays a critical match.
Economic expert Dr. Qais was of the view that through holding the energy conference the government had attempted to develop political consensus over power crisis, but was not the solution to the prevalent critical situation.

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