Let there be light

Hamna Zubair May 17, 2010

As Pakistan’s electricity crisis worsens, it is time we stop burning tyres on the street to protest our rising body temperatures and confront the question: why don’t we have electricity? We all know the gap between electricity generation and its consumption increases every day. But who can really decipher the meaning behind this megawatt-loaded language?

As for me, I get crushed beneath an avalanche of acronyms whenever I read a power-related story. And after wading through a sea of IPPs, RPPs, PEPCOs, KESCs and the like, I’ve finally clued into why the power crisis isn’t being resolved – nobody gets it.

Despite Mr Raja’s kind efforts to promise us that, let’s say, 150 megawatts (MW) will be added to the supply by June, we can’t relate this information to our lives. I don’t care whether he gets 150 MWs onto the grid. I just want my AC to run uninterrupted.

In an attempt to make sense of the lingo, I did some research which led me to believe that 1 MW of power provides electricity to anywhere between 500-1000 homes every year. Given that our shortfall generally fluctuates between 3,500 MW to 4,000 MW, it’s easy to see how millions of homes are ‘powerless’.

Ultimately, it seems to me the government doesn’t want the public to ‘get’ the specifics of the electricity crisis. That’s why we’ve been bumbling and blustering, asking for ‘civil-nuclear energy deals’ that will put us on par with India, when really we can’t manage to maximise output from a simple thermal power plant. When confronted with a power-problem, we like to beg, borrow, or rent our way out of the darkness – and it’s obvious these solutions aren’t sustainable.

I think the current crisis will be good for Pakistan. Electricity outages could be the new great leveler of man. Once we’re all out on our balconies, wiping sweat from our eyes, we might get hot and bothered enough to make a change ourselves. Punkha, anyone?


Ibn-e-Saif | 13 years ago | Reply The view of the sub editor is thoughtful but I say that even in Zia regime when Zia was inaugurating Bin Qasim thermal Power Stations in his speech, told the audience that why you people never clapped this is a first Asian station equipped with and controlled with computer system. He further added if I had been thrown the money incurred installing this power stations through helicopter, every street of the Karachi would have been having dollars, currency. The foreign diplomats particularly french gossip with me and quarried who finance you. At that time KESC was self finance organization and management of the KESC had planned five year ahead to install more power houses. The deterioration started thereafter none of the government, either democratic or non-democratic did not keep in their mind that Karachi is becoming metropolis. The time is still available that power industry to be mobilized and I would feel that China should take over the charge of KESC
Mahum | 14 years ago | Reply As always...very well written Hamna!
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