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Energy Crisis | Editorial

Finally, government has diverted its attention to the actual area of concern. It has announced that out of the 46-billion dollar Chinese investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a total of 36 billion dollars will be spent exclusively on ending the shortfall of electricity. It is a fact that an endemic energy crisis, blamed on years of mismanagement, is crippling the economy and making lives of millions of people miserable. There is a gap in demand and supply. Our power generation mostly relies on thermal power plants that produce almost 65 percent electricity. But the cost of this electricity is very high because thermal power plants are run on furnace and diesel oil. Government is working on a number of projects, including coal-based, hydropower and solar, across the country with Chinese assistance. It is long-awaited news that work is underway on these energy projects. At the same time, focus should be made on improving the existing power infrastructure in the country.

So far the performance of the present government seems worse in the energy sector compared to previous regimes. Reportedly, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif has confessed his government’s failure and inability to resolve the energy crisis until 2018. Amid long hours of load-shedding, there seems no end in sight to the crippling energy woes. The PML-N government is busy making tall claims about its performance in the energy sector, however, there is a lack of clarity in these claims. When the PML-N campaigned for the general elections 2013, it made tall claims of ridding the nation of electricity shortages within days, then weeks, then months. Later, this was extended to six months, two years, and lastly, till the end of its tenure. The energy crisis is the result of the wrong policies of the Musharraf regime that did not add a single megawatt of electricity in its nine-year existence. The PML-N government has inherited the crisis but the way it has been handling the situation, there is no hope that the nation will hear any good news any time soon. In fact the PML-N government has completely failed to understand the severity of the energy crisis and has been attempting to befool the country with false claims. In this scenario, Khawaja Asif deserves appreciation for having spoken the truth. Instead of issuing contradictory statements, government should present the real picture of the crisis. It should realistically describe the extent of the crisis and then present its strategy on how to deal with the problem. Electricity crisis will not go away till government comes up with a clear mind and strategy to deal with the challenge. Long term planning and its proper implementation are what the government has failed to do. Instead of pursuing half-baked ideas and projects, government should take stock of all the pros and cons and roadblocks of every initiative.

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/editorial/22-Mar-2016/energy-crisis

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