Other aspects of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz’s (PML-N) policies may be under fire, but its energy policies have largely escaped opposition criticism – even from Imran Khan and his intensely critical Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). It is not hard to see why. Load shedding has been down from the kind seen in the horror summers of Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) government, and the hours are regular. Private investment in the energy sector has been the highest in decades and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s (CPEC) supplementary projects focus primarily on energy generation. From new nuclear plants to large solar plants, there seems to be development in every sector. It is not surprising that the government has made the improvement of the energy situation the bedrock of their publicised success story; leaders are never too far from invoking the upturn in economic fortunes to woo the public.

But how much of this improvement is due to the government’s policies? A German state-owned development bank has questioned the Power Ministry’s claim of turning around the power sector through efficient generation and effective control, going so far as to term the narrative “politically influenced”.

In a recently released policy paper, the KFW acknowledged that Pakistan’s power generation had improved in recent years, but asserted that it came from three new power plants initiated before the current government came to power in 2013. The credit for which should surely go to the departing PPP government. Furthermore, it reveals that the increased power generation is due to increased raw production, no better and efficient management of the previous plants. In fact, across a large number of power plants, production is down from the high points seen in 2010.

It seems the PML-N’s crowning glory is not theirs after all – they inherited an improving system and managed to keep it ambling along. However, the key point from the public perspective is still this; its homes and businesses are powered morae predictably than before. While this keeps the pressure off the government for the time being, it knows it has to significantly improve the energy output before it can truly claim success.

And that can be done by improving power generation efficiency. If the numbers can be taken pre-2010 levels than the energy deficit can be reduced even more. The truest test for the government is how well the projects started in its own term function, and can it add diversified sources of energy to the grid?