“We are a bunch of dead souls…. loadahedding at its peak and I haven’t heard even a single protest going on in Lahore. Least bothered and self centered.”
Statuses like these have become more and more frequent on fb from my friends based in Pakistan who are experiencing the worst load shedding in recent years. The crisis has sparked a wave of protests, more like riots across the country. If only protests can solve the crisis. We as a nation have always resorted to protests, not in a meaningful way but more like rampaging the public and private property, the small businesses and public in general. The government, has, knowingly failed to take control of the situation.
Only, if protests and bemoanings could solve this. While the crisis is the result of infrastructural inefficiencies, technological incapability, past political blunders, I will take time to elicit how we, the public, have contributed to the energy woes. We, the few educated and insightful ones have yet to reflect into the dynamics of this problem.
As a nation, we love free rides. We want electricity without paying for it, we want to steal electricity through makeshift wires, we want to dilly dally with our electricity meter readers so that the metre doesnt show the true units consumed, we pride in not paying bills and think that is very influential, we resort to protests and burning the shops and raiding houses of the power utility officers during long hours of blackouts but thinking as if they are taking a personal revenge on us. We want the facilities without paying for it. It is not a joke to learn that Rs.90 billion have been lost in power theft in the last five years. Electricity theft, is common, in both slum areas and in the big, posh residential and industrial areas. We pride in being power thieves and we blame the government for the crisis. indeed, we are a bunch of dead souls.
The need is to curb this trend of power thefts and that can only be done by incentivising good behavior. A good working model can be emulated from KESC (Karachi Electric Supply Company) by all other electric supply companies . They have successfully tried implementing a basic rule: uninterrupted power supply to areas where people do not steal electricity and pay on time. The efforts have been fruitful and areas where 80% of people pay bills have less power outages. One should laud the efforts of KESC who are struggling hard to initiate good and responsible behaviors in the public for the public’s own comfort.