Pakistan: Energy Crisis and Salvation

Pakistan is now the fifth most populous country in the world having a population of more than 220 million. The maximum energy demand from residential and industrial units is 25,000 Mega Watt (MW) whereas the transmission and distribution capacity is stuck at approximately 22,000 MW. The 3000 MW of electricity need is looking to the authorities concerned. The demand and supply deficit shows that Pakistan needs to find out innovative ways of building its capacity and sources of energy production.

According to World Energy Outlook, more than 51 million people in Pakistan are deprived of access to electricity. The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, in its annual State of the Industry Report, determines that about 20% of all villages, 32,889 out of 161,969, are not joined to the national grid station. Grim that those households that are statistically linked go through with daily blackouts so it is estimated that more than 144 million people across Pakistan do not have reliable access to electricity. Hence, Pakistani households use a mix of technologies to power their homes and sell.

According to a report by The National Bureau of Asian Research, the severe current energy crisis shows grim fears to Pakistan’s frail economy and national security atmosphere.

When it comes to the deep and complex energy problems of Pakistan, it is found that major issues lie on the shoulders of governance and political will than of mere pure supply of energy. And to this, the report reveals the absence of a comprehensive and integrated energy strategy, resulting in interagency turf wars and a lack of coordination, insufficient revenue to support energy generation and infrastructure, owing to low liquidity in Pakistan’s struggling economy and high rates of tax default, and the leadership’s unwillingness to implement politically unpopular changes to address the situation.

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In addition, Pakistan’s energy mix portrays that the primary energy supply aggregates to over 70 Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent (TOE). Oil and gas are by far the leading bases with a bit of 80%. Oil is brought into the country from the Middle East mainly Saudi Arabia, and gas from Iran. Pakistan is consuming Liquefied National Gas (LNG), Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), and coal. Pakistan has currently, 4 power plants with a total capacity of 755 MW; an additional 3 are under creation. Nuclear power accounts for around 1.9% of the total installed capacity in Pakistan. Hydropower has a share of 13% whereas other renewable energies only play a slight part.

Historical accounts reveal that Pakistan has highly been dependent on fossil fuels and also energy importers. According to an estimate, Pakistanis spend around USD 2.3 billion annually on light through candles, kerosene lamps, and battery-lighten flashlights.

Undoubtedly, the nation’s issues and problems are addressed and resolved by the lawmakers who have the mandate of the people to address their issues and problems systematically. And for meeting energy demand, the government needs to find out integrated mechanism for four (4) separate purposes; political will, additional funding, human capital, and new power-generation sources. Truly, the ‘political will’ appears more important than the rest.

However, energy is a key to national economic development. Citizens of Pakistan must first own this country and its resources. Yes, for the exponential national economic development, the beneficiaries of energy need to be responsible citizens first. They should avoid electricity theft. The distribution companies should curb this menace by applying extra mile behavior. If the electricity theft is not curbed, then the national demand shall hardly be met, resultantly the economy will go down and people shall face grimmer issues.

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Firstly, the energy beneficiaries should realize the sense of responsibility and ownership for this national asset. They should not turn on the fan or light bulb in an unproductive condition. The government offices should strictly apply this practice on their own. True that government officers shall not need to pay for the energy utility but they can help in saving it for the larger interest of the nation.

Secondly, energy theft must be curbed immediately. The theft goes to bring loss of the energy resource. Smart applications should be introduced nationwide in collaboration with academia because academia has more potential to do scientific research and social problems.

Last, but not least, why the government is not serious about the energy prosperity of Pakistan. It must adopt the availability of a potent mix of renewable energy sources including wind and solar for making possible easy access to electricity for all. The government should look into the research conducted by energy academia experts of Pakistan in which new knowledge is provided for the entities concerned particularly forecasting and modeling. I think the government is afraid of a saying, “less you know less you suffer, unless you know unless you suffer”.

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