Electricity Crisis in Pakistan

Posted on January 6, 2009
Filed Under >Jauhar Ismail, Economy & Development
38 Comments
Total Views: 73865

Jauhar Ismail

The latest crisis that has Pakistani’s from all walks of life up in arms is the lack of electrical power throughout the country. While rolling blackouts or load shedding as its locally known has always been a staple of daily life in Pakistan, the problem has become acute in the last couple of years. In the second half of December, the situation got so bad that WAPDA & KESC (power generation entities in Pakistan) resorted to draconian levels of load shedding. The power cuts during this time amounted to 20-22 hours a day in most small cities and even cities like Karachi were seeing 18+ hours of load shedding.


Notwithstanding the systemic issues such as the failure to build new dams and previous Government’s inability to add even a single megawatt of new power to the grid during 9 years of its rule, it seems that the present crisis is a result of bad management and the lack of foresight. The total installed capacity of WAPDA and KESC totals around 19,500 megawatts. Almost two third of this power comes from thermal power plants (fossil fuels), one third is generated by water and about 2% comes from nuclear power plants.

The demand for electricity in Pakistan during the winter months actually goes down and this winter has not been an exception. Throughout the month of December, the electricity consumption in Pakistan hovered around 11,000 MW, down from the peak levels of 17,500 MW seen in summer. This demand was well within the installed capacity of WAPDA & KESC yet they were only generating a meager one third (6500MW) of their maximum capacity during this period leaving a huge gap between supply and demand. Their are two main reasons for this:

1. The water flow from all major dams was halted starting mid December to allow the annual cleaning of canals in January. This action effectively took all the hydro power off line.

2. The thermal power plants were working far below their potential due to the lack of money caused by the circular debt between various government agencies reaching a staggering 400 billion Rupees.

None of these issues could have possibly come as a surprise to the present government yet they choose to do nothing until violent anti government protests erupted in all major cities. A couple of days ago the President of Pakistan finally convened a summit of all stakeholders and since then the situation has improved somewhat but this fiasco provides another example of the misplaced priorities of our democratically elected leaders.

Instead of issuing stamps and coins bearing Benazir’s logo and dedicating existing airports to her name, they should focus on the plight of everyday people and try to make their lives a little bit better. Everyone understands that Pakistan is facing serious problems requiring long term solutions and the present government can’t be expected to make significant headway in the short term, yet there are things where it can make a difference. Eliminating load shedding during the winter months could just be one of them.

Photo Credits: Mona Akmal for title photo

Similar Posts at ATP:

1. What is Wrong with KESC
2. The Daredevil Electricians of Pakistan
3. Harnessing Wind energy in Baldia Town
4. KESC, Karachi and the Power Outages
5. More Crisis in Pakistan – Electricity, Flour, Sugar, Gas – What is the way out?
6. Conservation – bijli bachaao muhim
7. andher nagri

38 responses to “Electricity Crisis in Pakistan”

  1. Adnan says:

    Wind turbine and solar panel energy is the solution of power crises in Pakistan. Wind turbine can efficiently generate electricity in coastal area of Sindh & Balochistan. We can generate more than 10,000 MV electricity from this source. Solar panel energy can use in interior Sindh and southern Punjab to generate electricity, where sun remains shiny through out the year. Peoples can individually generate electricity for themselves, to install wind turbine and solar panel on there home roofs .

  2. M.AKRAM NIAZI says:

    NWFP and Sindh are responsible for Shortage of Electricity and water in Pakistan.
    Disease of Provincialism in Politicians of NWFP and Sindh is mainly responsible for power shortage mayhem and the resultant chaos in the society due to tormenting blackouts and long power outrages.
    Importance of Electricity Versus Wastage of Water for Feudals.
    Why opposition on generation of electricity by Kalabagh Dam in which no water is wasted but provide option of safe storage of water for future use. Electricity is the need of each and every minute and moment of human life, people can not tolerate outage of electricity for one hour while agriculture land can tolerate need of water even many weeks, but why importance to agriculture of few feudals and no importance to electricity which is the need of each and every citizens
    • Children weeps in the night due to high temperature and mosquitoes bite due to outage of electricity,
    • Students can not study in night due to outage of electricity.
    • Industry can not run without electricity.
    • Machinery can not run without electricity.
    • Surgeons can not operate without electricity.
    • A patient on life machine can not survive without electricity.
    • Even in agriculture can not use Tubewell without electricity.
    • Fertilizer can not be manufactured without electricity.
    • Pesticide can not be manufactured without electricity.
    • Sugar Mills,Cotton Mills,Flour Mills,Rice Mills can not run without electricity.
    Above points clearly indicates that use of water for generation of electricity is 1000 times better than wastage of water on land or in sea for few feudals, because water wasted in land or sea is not recoverable but water use for generation of electricity in Kalabagh Dam will be available for use for agriculture and Industry as it was suitable before generation of electricity and there will be no wastage of water.

    Sindh,Balochistan and Frontier are against Kalabagh
    because as per Sindh LOGIC Thar Coal is better than Kalabagh as Kalabagh will emmit BLACK SMOKE and Thar Coal will emmit fresh air full of Oxygen.
    And as per Balouchistan Vision GAS and coal extracted from Balouchistan are one of the most clean source of energy and Kalabagh will pollute air and land resouces and people will drown in Kalabagh and no one is dying in the coal caves of Balochistan.
    And as per Frontier wisdom Royalty of Tarballa is so important that Pakistan can be broken for that but Kalabgh dam is not good looking as it is in Punjab.
    All provinces want Provincial autonomy but Punjab should open or close its canals , IIRIGATE ITS LAND AND construct Dams as per desire of other provinces and after asking from
    other provinces Because it is necessary for unity and prosperity of Pakistan as when there will be no agriculture,no electricity and no water then Pakistan will be more united and more prosperous.
    From all above points it is clear that NWFP and Sindh who are opposing the generation of electricity and preservation and safe storage of water in Kalabagh dam are criminals of humanity as well as of World.

  3. fayaz samo says:

    yar i need to make funny speech on the topic ” we a nuclear power, with no electric power” so if u hv any funny smss on this or jokes do share here or on ma yahoo id or on ma no 0332-2720710

  4. alia says:

    i think you write well and give good suggesions i am also working on this topic and it will help me .thanks kindly write on what are the energy crisis impacts on community?

  5. muqaddas says:

    hi ye ghareeb awam n zalam hukmran ………………………………. PLZ GOD MERCY ON US

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