Pakistan’s Energy Crisis: Causes, Effects, and Possible solutions

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Pakistan and energy resources 

Pakistan is the country that has been and without change continues to be one of the most important importers of electricity and generators in the world. However, there is this contradictory situation that gives birth to a paradoxical standing of the country.

The rural areas of the country are still the incessant victims of load-shedding since these areas are the most affected areas of load-shedding in the world. Rich people of the rural areas and the powerful people can afford to circumvent this situation in their houses and apply the remedies to the problems, whereas, poor people cannot. This in turn not only contributes to an overall increase in unfairness but also makes the lives of poor people miserable as their daily activities are hindered. (Hameed, 2015)

A brief history of Pakistan and energy resources

Pakistan is an arid country built around a single river with about 70 per cent of the flow in the upper Indus occurring in merely three months of the year and large annual fluctuations. According to the PhD thesis Pakistan report, its reservoirs are Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma with 6.78, 4.46 and 0.22 MAF live storage capacities. (Chaudhry, 2018)

However, the lack of a fair approach to sharing the costs and benefits of water has been a major hurdle in developing high-return infrastructure in Pakistan. The country, though hopes to induct at least 18,000MW hydel power in the next 10 years, is rapidly depleting its water storage capacity due to sedimentation. Currently, the storage capacity is up to 13 per cent of the annual flow of rivers.

The depletion has not only reduced the power generation capacity of our dams but also proved detrimental to the country’s agriculture. For instance, over the last 30 years, the storage capacity of Tarbela has been reduced by 27 per cent due to silting.

Causes of Energy Crises in Pakistan

Since Pakistan continues to go through the same issue of energy crises which grows to become more severe if not diminish from time to time. Students studying the economics and energy resources of Pakistan suggest with the research proposal that the lack of adequate supply of energy does not only slows down the economy of the country but also makes life very difficult for the majority of the citizens.

The energy needs of Pakistan are around 15,000 to 20000 MW per day, however, currently, it is creating only around 11,500 MW, rendering a shortage of 4000 to 9000 MW per day. Here are some of the main causes of why Pakistan faces such severe crises of electricity in the country, what are its effects, and what could be the possible solutions to the situation; (Fiza, 2018)

Causes

Inefficient Power Plants:

 One of the reasons why the country falls short is partly because of the inefficient and outdated power plants that were implanted years ago and now are unable to generate the watts of electricity that meets the national demand.

Furthermore, another reason is the shortage of cash flow required to implant updated plants that would be able to operate at the optimum capacity. Since the country does not have enough funds to purchase the necessary equipment let alone the required amount of furnace oil to operate the existing plants, the entire nation suffers.

Electricity Theft:

Electricity theft is a common issue in the country. The inefficiencies of the distribution system are the number one reason why people indulge in electricity theft.

Lack of Dams:

Yet another major problem in the country. Currently, significant watts of electricity is being supplied by hydroelectric plants and IPPs, both of which depend upon the availability of water in the dams.

Therefore, if the level of water drops, so does the electricity supply since they have an inverse relationship. Pakistan at the moment fails to construct a major dam after Tarbella and hence plays its role in the crises

Effects 

Public Unrest

Due to the length of time that the country has been suffering from load shedding that affects the daily operations of every individual be it office work or housework everything is hindered due to no availability of electricity. 

This chaos angers the citizens making them come out on the streets and disturb the law in order to make themselves heard which in turn disrupts the economic activities of the country.

Economic Loss:

As mentioned above, the poor people come out on streets to protest making them miss their work and hindering the functionality of that outside of the protest 

Due to such intensive actions the imports and exports of the country also suffer thus, increasing the trade deficit of the country and depletion of the foreign exchange reserves.

This might not seem like big a problem in the star but if we evaluate in terms of longevity, this can obstruct the economic growth of the country resulting in a low GDP.

Poverty:

It is already explained above that due to the unavailability of electricity the daily functions are hampered and unfortunately, that results in unemployment leading to high levels of poverty. 

Solutions

If not many but there are a few effective solutions that the government can use to overcome the crises of energy.

Building more Dams:

Pakistan should and must invest in the construction of more dams because of the increased demand for electricity every year.

Investing in Renewable Energy:

Renewable energy is the only resource now that can provide sustained, clean, pollution-free electricity, along with the care of nature. Some of the examples of renewable energies are hydropower, wind energy, solar energy and tidal energy. 

Reduction of Electricity Theft:

As stated, before that electricity theft is the bone of contention in the shortage of electricity and is the biggest interruption of supply of electricity. The government here has to introduce some strict measures to reduce theft. For example; introducing strict penalties or temporary arrests.

Such measures might help in the reduction of electricity theft.

Conclusion 

The country is going through serious issues that require serious actions for example;

  • Strong back-up and support from international; providers
  • Strong Cash Flows during the past couple of years.
  • The stability and sustainability of existing plants, dams, and reserves 

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