The decrease in loadshedding in some areas of Lahore has brought hope that the power situation may improve before we are assailed by the full heat of the summer. But more encouraging still has been the agreement negotiated with traders in the province to close shops by 8 pm. While initially shopkeepers refused to comply, a promise by the government to ensure uninterrupted power supply from 4 pm to 8 pm helped swing things around.
The period without loadshedding is vital, especially for those running businesses involving electronics and computers, and for customers who were reluctant to brave stiflingly hot and dark markets. While anecdotal evidence suggests power cuts have had a devastating impact on commerce, the full scale of this has not been studied. In a situation where hundreds of power-looms in Faisalabad have been forced to close after relentless loadshedding, the latest agreement by traders offers hope.
The early closure of markets should have a very real impact on saving power. While there is concern regarding losses for shop owners, perhaps they should consider starting business several hours early. A 9 pm start to the shopping day is the norm around the world. Given weather conditions, an even earlier start could be considered. People may choose to get chores over with at this time, before the sun rises to shine down with its full fury. The energy crisis necessitates some change in lifestyle.
The acceptance of this by the traders is a good first step. Other changes may also be required, given that the power deficit still stands at over 1,000 megawatts a day in Lahore. It has become essential to find means to bring it down and prevent a worsening situation over the coming days.