The energy crisis in Pakistan has worsened as power shortfall is now nearly 3,000 megawatts behind demand.
Up to 10 hours of load shedding is being observed in urban areas, while in rural parts of the country, power outages have grown to 12 hours a day.
According to Pepco, the total power generation stands at 12,158 megawatts (MW) while demand for is 15,141MW. The shortfall is causing the increased load shedding hours.
The government on October 2 dissolved the bleeding Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) to follow a crucial IMF diktat and at the same time also hiked electricity prices by another 2 per cent.
This new crisis is attributed to a lack of oil supply to rental power plants. People all over the country are facing unannounced and increased hours of load shedding.
Most of the power plants have been using furnace oil for power generation even though they had been allocated an increased share of gas as part of last year’s winter gas allocation program and the energy summit. As pointed out by Khurram Husain in an opinion piece for the Express Tribune yesterday:
Of course, to increase their (the power sector’s) allocations of gas you need to take it away from someone else. Diverting it away from the fertiliser sector means price hikes of the essential input into agriculture, the livelihood of our political elite. Withdrawing gas from industry means strikes and shutdowns, difficult to stomach at a time when industry support for tax reform is also required. Withdrawals from compressed natural gas (CNG) stations translate into long lines of irate consumers and CNG associations making a hue and cry.
An editorial in the Express Tribune recently highlighted the government's efforts to work out a plan of action for the power crisis:
After delaying for several months – some would say decades – the government is finally willing to work on a credible action plan to solve the chronic power crisis at the institutional level. The plan being proposed involves at least some short-term pain for consumers in the form of significantly higher electricity bills. However, if it results in a more functional energy sector that is able to attract the requisite levels of investment and provide uninterrupted power, it may all be worth it.