ISLAMABAD - Due to power outages in the twin cities, the demand for UPS units and batteries has gone up with 25 to 30 per cent increase in their prices as compared to the last year's prices. Shortage of batteries has also added to the miseries of the customers, as 220-ampere battery is being sold in black market for Rs 18,000 while its company price is Rs 14,000. Though the demand for these items has doubled, dealers of UPS and generators have already made a huge investment in the business and enough stock is available to meet the growing needs of the people who are facing loadshedding.

During a visit to the city markets, majority of the wholesalers and retailers told this scribe that the demand for back-up power supplies has increased, since everyone is anticipating the worst power outages this summer and the announcement of load management plan has increased the demand.

This year, UPS prices range between Rs 15,000 and Rs 35,000, depending on capacity of the unit. The UPS available in the market are of three categories that include Pindi-Karachi and China-made and the most popular one among the customers are Pindi-made, as the dealers convince the consumers that their parts are available and can be repaired within a short period of time at a very minimum cost.

The buyers have to bear the cost of a battery (attached with UPS for back-up power supply), which is sold for around Rs 8,000 to 18,000. Thus, the total cost of a 500-watt UPS is around Rs 14,500. Battery dealers anticipate a rise in its price with UPS demand rising.

A batteries seller Hamid Khan at Apabara said that the demand of the batteries is so high that he orders one container on weekly basis but all the stock finishes within a day and he has to wait for another six days to get the next consignment.

Muhammad Usman, dealer of imported and local-made UPS, said the demand for the locally made UPS has almost doubled while the demand for Chinese UPS is low, mainly because it is costly while on the other hand if there is any problem, the repair charges are also high.

Despite shrinking purchasing power, many people have turned to generators, since UPS had failed to provide relief to the public during the extended hours of load shedding.