Pakistan faces an epic electricity crisis that threatens to its socio-economic and geo-political existence. The current electric power crisis has been in the making for the last few decades courtesy to perpetual inefficiencies and degradation of the socio-technical infrastructures for electricity generation and distribution. The unscheduled and frequent blackouts, loadsheddings, and power failures have turned the country’s economy and the lives of its people upside down. From layman to highly educated Pakistanis wonder why a crisis of this magnitude couldn’t have been anticipated and thwarted. Well, one does’t have to be a public policy historian to get to the bottom of the key causes of the electricity infrastructure failure in Pakistan. Some of the main causes of consistently widening the gap between the electricity demand and supply are very clear and easily understandable.
Heavily subsidized electricity remains one of the main causes. Creating artificially low prices for the electricity has only resulted in creating inflated demand without matching the supply. The aim is to help the poor pay less for the electricity but at what cost? The previous government has paid Rs.254 billion against Rs. 180 billion. The public has to be told that it is becoming increasingly difficult to fund the subsidies.
Extremely expensive and unsustainable source of power generation . Pakistan remains dependent on oil as its main power source. and no attention to reduce the cost of production. We are producing the most expensive electricity by spending Rs. 2 billion daily on thermal power plants.
Circular debts-A vicious circle of unpaid bills running through the entire electricity generation system presently run at $5 billion. The circle involves both the individual and industrial electricity consumers shirking in paying bills at all which leaves the power supply companies with no finances to pay the power producing companies which in turn don’t pay the oil and gas supplying companies and thus the debts keep on piling up.
Decentralisation of power sector is another major need for reform. Enterprise reform and governance are the top needs for PEPCO which is marred by heavy bureacuracy with no let up in passing on their power to the DISCOs and GENCOs.