Energy
Op-ed

Energy Conservation and Pakistan

Shahzad Yousaf

A journey of country, who has a surplus of electric power in 2001 to a deficiency in 2006 and still faces approx. 4500MW shortfall from 2007 to 2017. No doubt, there is a lot of energy resources to counter the energy crisis but unfortunately, due to lack of planning, we did not resolve it yet.

Has there been any effort to evaluate the impact of the energy crisis on Pakistan’s GDP and macro-economy? It does not seem so. The energy crisis has cost the national economy dearly, not only the loss to GDP in terms of missing energy due to the demand-supply gap but also the loss to industrial and commercial activities due to load-shedding and flight of capital from the country. Safe estimates suggest that it has cost the national economy over $100 billion.

Another dilemma of electrical power is that, recently, our Federal Minister of Power Division Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari announced in press conference, Govt dismissed the talk of load-shedding as mere propaganda, emphasis there were no power outages in any part of the country except for high loss areas. The reason of behind this statement was, govt faces 135 Billion losses annually in the ley of power distribution due to theft losses.

After this revise policy, the question is that, is it enough punishment for the thieves of electricity or think about the other solutions? In reality, it is the responsibility of the govt and National Transmission & Dispatch Company (NTDC) to control or minimize the theft losses. Starting the artificial load-shedding in those areas who are convicted in the theft losses is not the good solution to counter the problem. Govt and NTDC should take strict action to implement the legislation against the crime of theft in electricity.

There is a lot of reasons behind this energy crisis, just like no road map been developed to drive Pakistan towards a sustainable energy future, negligence of Government to ignore the difference between demand and supply year by year, lack of utilisation of cheap and indigenous hydropower and renewable resources but still a hope to resolve the energy crisis, because we have the potential, capacity and opportunity to overcome this challenge.

In current situation, there are two solutions to resolve this issue. One is increase the resources to produce electric power and second is to focus on, how to conserve the power? For production, our government started many projects to produce electricity but unfortunately, there is less focus on to conserve the electricity which is very suspicious. According to World Bank report, Electric power transmission & distribution losses in Pakistan was reported at 17.41 % in 2014 which is very high percentage. Due to this power losses, NEPRA ( National Electric Power Regulatory Authority ) is facing billions units lost every month.

As per a fact-sheet given with the response, the Lahore Electricity Supply Company suffered Rs3.7bn in T&D losses in 2013-14, which rose to Rs8.1bn the following year. Power losses of Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) started rising in the month of February 2017, jumping to nearly one billion rupees. Not only power losses of LESCO saw an increasing trend on month-on-month basis but, more worryingly, its progressive losses (July 2016-Feb 2017) are also on the rise. In terms of burning issues of power losses, LESCO is the second worst performer among the so-called efficient power distribution companies, belonging to Punjab province.

Through Energy Conservation, we conserve the almost 1500MW to 2000MW electricity which is almost half of the ten years shortfall. To conserve the electric power, there are two sectors which is need to be focused and reviewed, one is NEPRA and second is Consumers end.

For NEPRA, they are the responsible to minimize the power losses and theft losses. So, they should take strict action to control the theft losses. To reduce the percentage of power losses, long transmission & distribution lines should be convert into short routes. Improve the value of power factor on grid and sub-stations. NEPRA should manage the over loaded lines because heating of conductor is directly proportional to line losses. To manage the load, feeding heavy consumers directly from the feeders.

There are around 1.2m irrigation pumps installed in Pakistan, with about 90pc of these pumps using diesel directly or indirectly. The use of solar irrigation pumps for agricultural purposes instead of diesel-powered or tractor driven pumps could mean a 27pc saving in consumption of diesel fuel for irrigation pumping.

For consumers, now a day, the availability of invertor technology in products is very effective to conserve the power and reduce the billing units as well. We should convert our split & window air conditioners into Invertor air conditioner. We should convert our traditional UPS into digital invertor UPS. For lights and fans, we should focus on solar technology, due to this, we see the major difference in our electric bill. So being a responsible citizen, we have the power to conserve the energy.

About the author

Mian Bilal