KARACHI: As with any economy, demand and supply for gas generators are in perfect synchronicity. One calibrates as the other changes. But strangely enough, this mechanism has failed to factor in a crippling shortage of the very fuel that runs these machines: gas.
In Sindh, the supply of gas is cut back for two days a week and in the Punjab it is three days a week. The situation is so precarious that the government has run advertisements in the media urging people not to use generators that require the fuel. This doesn’t seem to be working though. A senior Sui Southern Gas Company official lamented the fact that the company can’t take action against anyone who buys a gas generator or trades in the product. Neither the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority nor the petroleum ministry have prepared laws to govern the use of gas generators. “So even if someone is using or selling a gas generator, we can’t register an FIR at the police station,” said the official.
The hub of all imported generators in Pakistan is located in Karachi. The main generator bazaar is located near II Chundrigar Road right opposite the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Shahrae Liaquat Road.
Dozens of small and big shops on both sides of the road sell generators mostly imported from China with some stock from Japan and Korea. There are at least 25 Chinese brands out of which Loncian, Lutian, Jasco and Rato are considered the best quality, said Generators Association vice president Zafar Ali Khan. Also popular are the Concord, Astra Korea, Komakoo, Extreme, Vackson, Powerful, and Dong Fong. Yamaha Honda and Elemax are the two pricier brands, which are being marketed as ‘Made in Japan’. Khan points out that actually Elemax is the same as Honda as it uses the same company’s engine. “Consumers consider the Japanese models to be more reliable,” says Mohammad Wahab, a wholesale dealer who owns two shops in the upscale Clifton neighbourhood and a godown in DHA.
One of the best generators is the Honda EM 6000GN 4kva that goes for Rs225,000. However, Allied Cables manager Sultan Akbar, who deals in the ‘Powerful’ Chinese brand, says that any petrol- or diesel-based product can be converted into a gas generator with a ‘gas kit’ that comes for just Rs1,000 extra. In fact, all dealers offer the optional gas kit along with their petrol and diesel generators.
Surprisingly, no shopkeeper at the generators market offered a warranty on their products. Olympia Enterprises’ Gullu Mian who owns a shop on Shahra-e-Liaquat stressed that no one gives a guarantee for a single minute once you step out of the market with the machine.
However, Ashfaq Brothers, who are authorised dealers of the Honda generators in Karachi, say that they offer a one-year service and parts warranty for their products. A close look at their guarantee card made it clear, however, that they do not help with any kind of accidental failure.
Economical petrol and diesel generators that can be converted to gas with a Rs1,000 kit
3kva between Rs22,000 and Rs26,000 (that will power a 3-room unit)
3.5kva between Rs25,000 and Rs33,000
5kva between Rs46,000 and Rs56,000
6kva between Rs62,000 and Rs72,000
3kva between Rs33,000 and Rs42,000
4kva between Rs40,000 and Rs49,000
5kva between Rs55,000 and Rs66,000
7kva between Rs72,000 and Rs85,000
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.
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