KARACHI - President of the All Pakistan Business Forum Ibrahim Qureshi has strongly protested against the return of massive power outages, which are crippling business activities across the country.

After a rise in temperature, the demand and supply gap has touched almost 6,500MW, mainly due to closure of old power plants at Guddu. In the same way, some units of Hubco and Nandipur have been closed, while power plants at the newly-inducted Bhikki and Haveli Bahadur Shah are still out of the system despite commitments of the government.

He called upon the government to resolve the matter, as SMEs, which were not connected to industrial feeders, were presently facing up to 8-hour loadshedding, while industrial feeders were facing tripping issues. Like several other commitments, the government has failed to meet its promise of mitigating loadshedding in commercial hubs and zero loadshedding on industrial feeders, he added.

Qureshi stated that there was a huge gap between demand and supply of power. The ongoing power projects in the country would take some time for their commercial operation. Therefore, there was a dire need to take emergency steps in this regard, he suggested.

The APBF president proposed that all available options should be utilised, such as restoring idle power projects and encouraging the industrial sector to operationalise their available captive power capacity to mitigate the power crisis in the country. He suggested that generating power through the solar system should be examined as such projects could be made operational in few months. He said that electricity loadshedding had once again kicked up gear, reaching to around 8 to 10 hours in the provincial capital, as total power generation has declined mainly due to mismanagement of the government.

He urged the government to evolve a new strategy to exploit hydel resources in shortest possible time. "The government claimed to end power outages for industrial sector but constant increase in energy demand continues to hit the businesses. Pakistan is one of those countries where water scarcity is intensifying with every passing day," he added. The APBF president lamented that annually, 35 million acre feet water was being wasted into the sea despite the fact that this water could be used for irrigation and generation of cheap hydel power. Keeping in view the current scenario, he said that large dams were necessary, not only for storage of surface water, which is major component of agriculture, but also for generation of hydroelectricity, which is the cheapest and cleanest form of energy.