Languishing power sector

It is saddening that the national power sector is deteriorating with passage of time instead of any noticeable improvement in its governance , administration or professionalism . The result is that circular debt keeps on ballooning , tariffs are ever escalating , thefts go unchecked with revenue leakage , high transmission & distribution losses adding to the cost of delivered power , inefficient & incompetent handling of problems and poor operation & maintenace of powerplants and grid system network are all going unaddressed.

Lack of industrialisation and commercialisation has resulted in surplus power which remains unutilised though you need to pay for this to the investors . The recent countrywide total black out exposed the grave weaknesses in the operation & maintenace of the power system and the lack of professionalism in running it . Billions of Rupees losses have incurred as a result thereof as the system restoration took over twenty hours . It points out that all is not well in the power sector which is supposed to be the backbone of the national economy . Future blackouts can not be ruled out . The power sector is seized with multitude problems of our own making and one wonders what our advisors and administrators have been doing to address these problems . Rest assured that raising of power tariffs now & then is not going to solve the problems . Nor vesting of powers to the government to levy surcharges in the consumers bills , at their sweet will , will prove fruitful . It may , however , please the IMF and other lending agencies at the expense of the cosumers and the government ultimately . In short , the whole power sector is in shambles and is highly messed up , and it is beyond the capacity and capability of the present masters governing this sector of vital national importance.

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In view of the gravity of the state of affairs confronting the power sector , there appears to be no quick fix as the challenges have been made highly complex to resolve . People with proper expertise and a clear mind are required to thrash out the teething multifarious challenges & problems. The first thing is to draw a transparent comprhensive road map of initiatives in the right direction . One should remember that it is easier to make a new system than to straighten out a bad one that has been grossly mishandled and governed over the years. It is high time that the existing inefficient and incompetent gurus managing the affairs of the power sector are replaced with more qualified , experienced and sound professionals possessing a clear vision to set the house in order . Needless to say that Pakistan can not take off economically without ensuring a reliable , dependable and affordable power system , which , however , is not in sight at present .

Engr Riaz Bhutta

Lahore

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