Essay No. 26:
Energy Crisis: For many people, aware of the man’s growing dependence on fuel as a source of energy had to change their viewpoints in 1973. When OPEC (Oil and Petroleum Exporting Countries) halted their supply of oil, though commonly it is known as “Oil shock”, but it helped to coin a new phase called “Energy Crisis”.
It was after this energy crisis that people of the world began to look up for an alternate source of Energy. In order to fulfil their needs, besides the commonly known factors of energy production. Thus energy, defined as an “ability to do work” can turn into energy crisis “whence is no ability to do work”. There are several natural elements by dint of which energy is derived. These elements can be numbered such as (1) Coal (2) Oil (3) Gas. These natural resources are put up to obtain other forms of energy, for example, electricity.
Pakistan is suffering from an acute shortage of electricity. Frequent load shedding, a rapid increase in the price per unit of electricity, and political deadlocks have turned this situation into a nightmare for a common man. The current demand for electricity is around 17000 megawatts (MW), whereas the supply is 11000 MW. (Till July 2015).
There is a profound difference between the present demand and supply. With demand increasing 12 percent per annum, the government resources are added to pool up only 7 percent increase in the production of electricity. This difference in demand and sully is gigantic in nature, with a population growth rate of 3.2 percent per annum; it would take more than an effort to keep up with the demand.
The gap is wide enough to be filled within days. It will take years, provided if there are no stalemates like political instability and cooperation among the elected representatives and other high ups. If this situation exists it is going to take ages before we can even dream up of a twenty-four-hour electricity facility (and dreams don’t come easy).
Among the causes, which have led to this situation of energy crises are:-
Corruption is the foremost element, nepotism and red-tapism is an established fact of the authority concerned. Apart from this, revenue is being transferred in the pockets of officials instead of adding up to the national exchequer.
An ironical example is that, though the government has embarked on massive advertisements to save energy on the electronic media, carrying the message in one way or the other but, take a round of the city and one would find that the street lights are on, twenty-four hour a day. There is no one to switch them off in the morning and do vice versa in the evening. All these problems need immediate attention by the Government.
Though these problems are deep-rooted and are ever-present, these issues have been put up with every Government, though steps were taken to the extent of paperwork, no concrete steps were taken to solve this painful living phenomenon.
As a result, the government has taken several steps to ensure that the capacity to generate electricity meets with the requirement. A massive privatization and deregulation policy have gone underway. Not only this government has embarked on a massive energy-producing project? Example are:-
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In total there are some nine projects approved by the government to meet the requirements excluding Kalabagh Dam but including an agreement with a central Asian Republic Tajikistan, to sell Pakistan 1000 MW Electricity, though it has not yet materialized due to some political reasons, yet it is expected that the deal would wrap up within this year.
Apart from purchasing it from foreign countries, the Government has also undertaken research to buy electricity from the local generators and the research has declared that the government can purchase at least 200 MW of surplus energy from the local producers.
Besides these projects which are yet to materialize, the government has also undertaken two major projects one at Ghazi Brotha with a capacity of 1425 MW hydel electricity and the other of Huls, a thermal project with an expected capacity of 1292 MW. Both these projects have been undertaken with the help of private investors.
Privatization is a buzz word around the Government circles and the last year Economic Survey suggests that privatization is a remedy of all ills. The question is whether privatization is any solution to the existing energy crisis. The answer is yes, with a lot of ifs and buts.
The government is determined to follow the path of privatization and deregulate most of its organization WAPDA was established in 1958 by a Presidential Ordinance. So far the only major change made, is the increase in the number of members from four to seven, again by a Presidential Ordinance 1994.
WAPDA, though it has attached a lot of criticism, has proved to be an effective authority. It has generated Rs. 1.43 billion with self – financing scheme, apart from this self – financing scheme, Rs. 1.60 billion from billing and had utilized these in serving the nation.
Privatizing this sector would create certain anomalies like low-profit generation by the private companies, who are already bent upon to give a lesser and lesser amount to the national exchequer in the form of taxes.
Yet the government is strongly committed to solving this energy crisis for bringing economic and political stability in the country. And one way to ensure this is to privatize the public sector, like; it has been done in the rest of the world.
Privatization of Energy Sector has also resulted in alteration of Foreign investment in Pakistan. The recent visit of the President of Pakistan to the united states of America and France has shown positive signs towards foreign investment. It is expected that this present Energy Crisis would meet its ultimate fate, provided, there remain political stability and government is able to implement its policies properly.
The developing countries like Pakistan should not only work on natural resources like oil, coal and gas to fulfil its requirements, but it should also take advantage of the latest scientific research and discoveries. As we understand the “Solar Energy” is also manifested with the same destiny. Pakistan Government could encourage private investors to invest in these forms of energies.