The federal government, quick to pat itself on the back for apparently eradicating the country’s energy crisis is faced with deep mortification and possible public scorn as power load shedding rears it head again at the start of the summer heatwave. With failing transmission services, power plants tripping and the added delay in renewing dwindling fuel supplies all point to the unbelievably cavalier attitude of the administration, Discos, government departments and power sector at large. While the energy crisis stands as the most severe issue plaguing the country, and recalling the persistent load shedding every preceding summer, it speaks to the inattention and irresponsibility of the current administration and concerned power management matrix of how the matter of preparedness and forward planning that has been treated as an afterthought.

While the new plants at Neelum-Jhelum are still not up and running, unable to perform commercially, hydel generation is still too abysmal to complement or even minimally augment energy needs. While the shortfall is declared as temporary, in the face of the ever reiterated cycle of empty state promises, touted funds allocated for power generation and emphatic claims of the problem being already solved despite evidence to the contrary, the public will only translate this lapse in administration as a disheartening confirmation that summer load shedding is set to repeat itself despite the promises.

Where declarations of no rural-urban divide for sharing of load management are meant to mollify an already irate vote base, we can be sure that rural areas will be bearing the brunt of the power outages. However, under the more tactful moniker of ‘load management’ power distributers shall extend consumers the courtesy of informing them before hand that they will be sweltering in heat for the next hour before imposing forced power outages.

From procrastination and mismanagement in shipment to expected delays in the supply chain, the operational entities- PSO, port authorities, transport operators, power plant operators- all are complicit in this debacle of mismanagement. Any further delay reflects austerely on the PML-N government before the upcoming general elections especially in light of its assertions of delivering the country form power shortages. Shortage of power through Ramazan will further add to the public’s suffering and resentment. This time around, the public cannot be mollified by shirking the misstep as ‘temporary’ or an ‘unavoidable situation’. Where the incumbent government has been navigating the throes of political drama and a frenzied election season, it needs to ensure that the issue is indeed temporary and use all resources to mitigate it.