Energy crisis: Choosing between necessities and luxuries

Published: May 7, 2012
Traders and shopkeepers in Bangladesh, a country facing a similar shortage, use a single bulb to light their businesses. PHOTO: FILE

Traders and shopkeepers in Bangladesh, a country facing a similar shortage, use a single bulb to light their businesses. PHOTO: FILE


As soon the summer approaches as the electricity demand soars since domestic consumers switch on their fans/air conditioners to beat the heat. There is a need to devise ways and means to meet the electricity deficit which has soared up to 15 percent of the total peak demand of 19,000MW.

A permanent solution to the present energy crises lies in quantum addition in the generation capacity. This is probably easier said than done, since power generation projects are capital intensive and involve long gestation periods.

Despite recent additions to total generation there is little hope of respite from load-shedding because of the annual increase in demand. It would make sense therefore to use the available power prudently. A way has to be found to ensure that the wheels of industry and agriculture, which drive our economy, are provided electricity on priority with minimum disruption to the daily routine of the common man.

The present government has recently approved a plan to conserve energy, as part of short term measures to minimise the impact of shortage in power. In this connection, it was decided at the second energy conference to reintroduce five-day a week in all provinces, closure of shops by 8 pm, ban on use of air conditioners in government offices before 11 am, launching of an awareness campaign through the media to educate the masses on the utility of conservation, staggering of industrial holidays, induction of energy saver bulbs, banning of neon signs, and switching off alternate street lights. These measures are likely to result in saving of over 1,200 MW. The adage that a megawatt (MW) saved is better than a megawatt produced was the moving spirit behind the conservation plan.

All over the world businesses and shops close early therefore early closure of businesses and shops is critical to energy conservation, as this measure alone will save over 700MW. Bangladesh is also facing energy crisis, traders and shopkeepers there use a single bulb to light their businesses.

The success of the implementation of early closure of shops lies in the cooperation of traders and shopkeepers, they will have to set the trend of “open early and close early” and change the present culture in keeping with international practices.

Domestic and commercial consumers in the country consume over 9,000 MW of electricity, a sizeable chunk of the total peak demand of 19,000MW in summers. There is ample room for saving, if we change our lifestyles and discourage extravagant use of electricity. According to experts air conditioners and home appliances consume over 6,000 MWs of electricity.

Leaving lights and energy inefficient home appliances on even when they are not being used is a common practice. It is our energy-inefficient lifestyle that is in many ways responsible for the present energy crises.

We have to rise above our personal and vested interests to face this energy crisis through a collective national effort by changing our lifestyles. The nation has to clearly draw a line between necessities and luxuries.

The writer works in the PR department of PEPCO/NTDC.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • nisar shaikh
    May 7, 2012 - 9:04AM

    Don’t try to bring western ideas to Islamic countries. The idea of conservation and efficiency are christian ideas and should never be implemented in islamic countries.


  • Umair
    May 7, 2012 - 9:47AM

    As has been said before, electricity is the only commodity in this country where the distributors actively lobby their customers to buy less of the product!
    Basic economics suggest that the best way to deal with excess demand is to increase its price, or enhance supply. These demand management strategies wont work when you subsidize the price, have inefficient distribution and failed paradigms/policies for attracting investment in the sector.


  • bashir ahmed
    May 7, 2012 - 10:52AM

    It was an advertisement of PEPCO. I think Marketing Department articles should not be published in News Pages. The readers pay for the paper and the publishers should understand such things. There is nothing worth in this article. The writer has only defended the ill-doings of government. I think such articles are paid advertisements.


  • ishrat salim
    May 7, 2012 - 12:48PM

    Nisar Shaikh…the writer is very correct..he is not trying to sell any product of any Western country..but trying to put in some sense in us to change our morking lifestyle to save electricity….people with similar mindset like you has destroyed this country..instead of appreciating the idea of ” how to save energy “, you are giving sermon….even Allah swt in Quran has strictly prohibited us to desist from wastage & control our expenditures & luxury & live a simple life…may Allah swt show people like you the right path….Recommend

  • taxed
    May 7, 2012 - 12:56PM

    If the comments above are any barometer of thinking in Pakistan then we deserve load shedding. How arrogant can you guys be most of you don’t even pay your bills thats why you can sit there advocate using more then your fair share and of all things using religion to justify it? Any other nation would conserve and husband their resource to get maximum gain.


  • M M Malik
    May 7, 2012 - 3:08PM

    The way forward, until the shortages persist, is to totally ban air-conditioning in all official and private buildings and homes. This may seem harsh but there is no other way.


  • Meekal Ahmed
    May 7, 2012 - 4:53PM

    why do we have to bring in God’s name and Islam into this discussion?


  • ishrat salim
    May 7, 2012 - 5:23PM

    Reply to Taxed….now u see why we are backward…..he is encouraging wastage & inefficiency in the name of Islam….& unfortunately, there are many people like him amongst us….he shud browse history of inventions made by the Muslims…most of which hv been improved upon with the passage of time by Western & European countries…these inventions by the Muslims relates to bring efficiency & conservation in our daily lives…those Muslim inventors were influenced by the Western culture…are we not reaping the fruits & benefits of those inventions by our great Muslim inventors ? u hv every right to opinion but it shud be realistic…not to comment just for the sake of commenting. ” Iqra ” Mr Nisar Shaikh…..Recommend

  • Asad Malik
    May 8, 2012 - 7:22AM

    Why are most of the people commenting retards?

    I hate this government as much as anyother but I do LOVE Pakistan unlike most of you it seems. There is nothing wrong with conserving energy. Do you know that Japan implements measures to save energy as well, especially after closing down all their nuclear power plants?

    Do you seriously wish to harm the country by not saving electricity which is direly needed by the floundering industrial and agricultural sectors of MY beloved country?

    Reading your comments who are the educated “adults” of the society makes me wonder whether we should even have democracy with people like you given the power to vote.


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