Pakistan’s Energy Crisis and Energy Saver Bulbs

Posted on April 3, 2010
Filed Under >Deeda-e-Beena, Environment, Science and Technology
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Pakistan is facing a huge and growing energy crisis, a daily reminder of which are the multiple instances of load-shedding each day all over Pakistan. The crisis, of course, needs long-term energy generation solutions. But it also needs immediate energy conservation. And one important way of doing this is through Energy Saver Bulbs.

Pakistan is among a few countries taking off aggressively to use these energy saver bulbs. While people have been converting to them in millions during the last couple of years in this age of Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) gadgetry and individual generators, the government has recently decided to import millions – 30 millions by a newspaper report – of these energy saver bulbs for reportedly “FREE” distribution.

This declaration of massive imports and their free distribution, if inappropriately administered, is fraught with potential dangers of corruption and abuse. Irresponsible persons can make fortunes at both ends of these transactions and at the expense of most economically solving the national problems of electricity shortages and environmental degradation.

In fact, it would be appropriate and in the national interest to manufacture these bulbs locally. That would support the existing manufacturing Industry which must be suffering factory closures, economic losses and lost jobs due to the en masse conversion from the incandescent lamps to these Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, or CFLs.

Their massive use will supposedly combat the electricity shortage problem by using 75-80 % less electricity; lowering the individual bills and could also contribute to improved environment through reduced greenhouse gas emissions. However, few people realize that they need to be disposed properly, failing which they can cause harm because of the mercury contained in them.

According to an estimate China is producing 70% of the world’s supply of these CFLs. There are many brands sold in Pakistan, prominently Phillips and Osaka etc., The packing containers for none of these sold in Pakistan show how to take care and dispose them when unusable. However, those sold in the USA are also made in China but they provide detailed instructions about care and their safe disposal. The local administrations also provide special receptacles at accessible places. The regimes are similar to worn-out batteries and used hypodermic syringes.

Those who are making huge profits from this trade in Pakistan should be made to support and subsidize a safe disposal and recycling program, nationwide. If not as a public service then to avoid potential liability lawsuits from those adversely affected. In a nutshell, we have been advised that the CFL bulbs are good for the environment, the energy crisis, our bank account, and global warming! They also need to be informed about the proper disposal procedures needed for them, failing which they can cause harm.

The Government should regulate and make available an Environmentally Safe and well protected disposal system. The Media, in particular TV and radio have to play their all important part to disseminate it. The importers/suppliers must also fulfill their legal obligations in this. Finally, people must organize their own neighborhood Collection/ Disposal arrangements if Government fails. It will be for their own safety and benefit.

21 responses to “Pakistan’s Energy Crisis and Energy Saver Bulbs”

  1. abdul aziz says:

    one must be very cautious while purchasing electric saver lamps/bulbs because Pakistan facing bad electric crises and people are trying to get rid of this problem and purchase electric savers ..I suspect taking undue advantages of public problem locally manufactured savers lamps are spread in market and available for sale..companies must look into this matter..

  2. Electricity is not a big problem of Pakistan but the main issue is our traditional politics behavior. We have enough potential and enough resources to solve easily the basic problems like this. We have to modify our politics rules otherwise we never be succeed.

  3. Raheel Afzal says:

    I wish we get rid of this issue as soon as possible.

  4. Energy Technologist says:

    There have been alot of talk. From hydro to wind to wave. The problem with pakistan is that, none of these options are going to work. Pakistan is a small country compared to its population. hydro dams aside from being expensive in an effectively bankrupt country, drown large amounts of precious land, so Pakistan can not meet all of its energy needs by hydro generation. wind, solar and wave technologies are not proven and are expensive toys which hardly contribute a few percentage of power demands in the most rich and technologically superior countries so Pakistan should not gamble on these toys and spend its precious money on them. Coal power plants are a very attractive option, since pakistan has coal reserves to provide its energy needs for several dozen years, but they are dirty and generally any kind of power plants are not cheap. A 1,000 MW plant costs upwards of a billion euroes, and that is only the price of the plant and does not include a billion dollar more needed to develop a large enough mine to feed coal for the plant. Nuclear plants cost several times more and can cost upto 10 billion dollars for a 1,200 MWh. Pakistan does not have the technology to make nuclear power plant and currently no other country also wants to sell nuclear plants to Pakistan due to terrorism problem. Pakistan as of now is short by 6,000 MW and as the population grows and people’s expectations shoot up and half of Pakistan that is right now not connected to electric grid, become connected, You can imagine how many plants Pakistan has to make. Also it takes anywhere between 4 years for a small coal plant to 12 years for a large dam or nuclear plant to be built.

    Right now facilities like airconditioners and computers are used by less than 10% of pakistan and most of the economy is based on ancient agricultural techniques. If pakistan is ever to become modern and industrialized then it needs, at least 1 Kilowatt hour capacity for every person. With a current estimated population of 180 million that comes to 180 thousand Megawatt hour capacity. Pakistan has now just 20 thousand. With growing population Pakistan would need more than 360 thousand MWh of energy by 2050, when Pakistan’s population hits 360 million.

    So what is the solution. Pakistan does not have money and technology to develop its own plants. Independent power producers and private generating units are also not a long term option as they are thieves selling the same electricity in Pakistan for up to 55 US cents per kilowatt hour as compared to 12 cents in Canada and United States, under the pretext of investment in a risky terrorist infested country. Only one option remains, which is fortunately for Pakistan is both very cheap and reliable as well as least time consuming. The option has only one glitch, and that is, it will accompany the wrath of USA. That option is Iran. Iran can provide Pakistan with almost unlimited amount of natural gas which is much cheaper than the prevailing LNG prices in the world. Also Iran has a very developed electricity generation system and has offered Pakistan to meet the entire Pakistani shortage of electricity by offering the subsidized rate of 11 cents per kilowatt hour. Iran has even offered to build the entire transmission lines to Pakistan entirely with its own money and expertise on a record time of 14 months. If Pakistan just says ok. there will be no load shedding by the next summer. It is a very brilliant option both economically as well as security wise. Economically Pakistan will get as much power as it needs comparatively cheaply, and can spend its little money on developing industries and other needed infra structure instead of building power plants. And since Pakistan is going to be dealing with a government that is the brotherly government of Iran, Pakistan will no more need to play a slave to IPP’s. These kind of arrangements are immensely successful and promote peace and prosperity, for example almost all of the countries in continental Europe buy their power from France and Germany. But alas our leaders are too afraid of US. They have not learnt anything from Turkey which is in a similar situation to Pakistan being an American client. But Turkey despite being a client has defined its red lines with USA regarding its national security. So Turkey buys both gas and electricity from Iran, and Americans understand that Turkish people will not listen to them in these regards unless USA could satisfy their energy needs instead of Iran. But since USA can not even satisfy its own energy needs and has to import energy itself then Turks buy cheap energy from Iran. Pakistan could do the same if it had the guts to tell Americans that either they should meet the national energy needs by the next summer or that Iranians will be invited to take care of our problem. It is a choice Pakistan has to make today and not tomorrow. Iran is pakistan’s only option. And pakistan is lucky that its only option is in the lap of a brotherly country which is not only trustworhty but also eagerly willing to help out. Pakistan should not die of energy starvation while its brother is willing to feed it.

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