Pakistan has been suffering from a severe power shortage for almost a whole year. The electricity outages subsided in September during the holy month of Ramadan, but now they are back. This time with a vengeance.
Islamabad, the capital, is probably the least troubled by the shortage, but “least” is a relative term. Even here, the load shedding is getting ridiculously lengthy while the electricity bills are pushing into the five-figure range due to the recent price hike.
Where I currently live, a relatively posh area of Islamabad, it seems there is no fixed schedule. I try to get home after the 10-11pm outage, but depending on someone’s mood, the next one appears at midnight or as early as 11:30pm. Unscheduled outages lasting as long as 6 hours are common during the night or on weekends.
Businesses, especially like the one I’m in, are really suffering from the shortage of electricity and I can only imagine the losses in other cities. UPSs and petrol or diesel-powered generators can only do so much and even those are now too expensive for many people.
It is getting cold enough for people to cut down on their cooling, (air conditioning is where most of the watts usually go), yet the outages are increasing. In fact, I heard in the news today that the country’s capacity for generating electricity has actually gone down from 4000 Megawatts to just 1800. How in God’s name is that possible and isn’t anything being done about it?
I miss the old days when Musharraf the Great was our leader, the economy was growing, inflation was low, cool new projects were underway and the average Jamil was somewhat happy. Oh, and there was NO LOAD SHEDDING. Most of us had forgotten there ever was such a thing.
Now I’m starting to look at alternatives to relying on WAPDA (or diesel) for electrical energy (hope to write another post about solar power soon).