Pakistan suffers from power shortage

(Photo by: Jamal Dawoodpoto)

Pakistan is facing severe power crisis since a decade, as against the demand of about 19000MW electricity, it produces hardly 11000 to 12000MW through its all resources including hydro power plants installed at dams and some others operating on furnace oil and gas besides two nuclear power plants. Some power plants of very small capacity are run by private sector.

Owing to acute shortage of electricity, the Pakistan Electric Power Company resorted to load management under which the electric supply to the residential as well as commercial, industrial and agricultural customers is suspended for six to 18 hours a day in different cities, towns and rural areas. The power outages have resulted in violent protests across the country during which the offices of power companies are ransacked and set ablaze. The prolonged power outages have led to unemployment as the activities at commercial concerns and industries come to standstill.

There are many factors behind power crisis including increasing demand for electricity, no planning for setting up new power plants, power generation below capacity, obsolete power distribution system and the corruption rampant in Power Supply Company at all the levels. The electric power thefts due to high tariff and line losses because of decades old cables and transformers too have aggravated the situation.  

In rural areas of country, the farmers use to irrigate their agricultural lands by tube-wells run on electricity. The tube-wells are installed to overcome the water shortage in canals. In case the transformers, mounted on poles, get burst or burn due to overload, or due to certain fault, they are replaced only after paying some bribe to the officials and staff of power company, but even then the transfers are not properly put on poles.

This picture is one of such examples, as a transformer, locally known as PMT (Pole Mounted Transformer) has been placed at a cart tied to the electric pole in a remote village of Naudero town of Larkana district of Sindh province. The high-power electric cables are seen connected to PMT and the tube-wells installed in two small brick-made rooms, posing threat to human lives all the time.

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