Pakistan’s energy crisis has been the most pressing national issue in recent times. The energy shortfall has affected the industrial sector productivity and export performance particularly. The issue affects the day-to-day life of Pakistanis, so much so that the energy crisis was central to the manifesto of major political parties contesting in the last elections. 

The gap between the Pakistan’s supply and demand is around 5000-5500 Megawatt despite the fact that we have an installed capacity of 24,000MW but can operate only 15-16,000 megawatts due to oil supply issues, wrong and inefficient energy mix etc. The gravity of this issue can be estimated from this fact that Pakistanis spent Rs30 billion last year on UPS and battery chargers alone. 

Reducing the energy shortfall needs strategic policies on infrastructure development, alternating the energy mix and solving the circular debt problem. However, energy crisis is not just a supply side issue. It is also a demand side issue as Pakistan has been using inefficient and high energy consuming electronic appliances which consume a lot more energy than they should. According to a media report, 67 percent of energy consumption stems from energy inefficient appliances such as lights and fans and another study by RAFTAR (Research and Advocacy for the Advancement of Allied Reforms) shows that households waste 25 percent of electricity due to inefficient appliances. 

In order to reduce energy demand, the government of Pakistan started an energy conservation initiative in collaboration with World Bank. According to this energy conservation programme, the government introduced star based energy labelling for local electronic appliance manufacturers. The average locally manufactured ceiling fan consumes between 100-150 watts. The government through NEECA (National Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority) wanted to bring down energy consumption to 60-70 watts. In order to achieve this end, consultative meetings were held with leading fan manufacturers; however, most fan manufacturers were apprehensive about developing a higher priced energy efficient fan for the Pakistani market. 

Despite opposition from other manufacturers, GFC Fan Company took the lead in development of star rated energy efficient fans in Pakistan. Under the leadership of Nabeel Ilyas, who was also the chairman of PEFMA (Pakistan Electric Fan Manufacturers Association) at that time, they focused on research and development and altered their production method swiftly. Consequently, GFC became the first fan company producing energy efficient fans which consumed less than 40 percent energy of what the traditional heavy, cast iron fans would consume. GFC Fans were also the pioneers in printing the official security sticker which consumers could scratch, then send sms to 9460 and verify if the rating for energy efficiency is genuine or fake by receiving a message from NEECA. Following their footsteps, other major manufacturers also started doing the same. 

When we spoke to Nabeel Ilyas, COO of GFC Fans and president of PEFMA, he told us that now the government has adapted a very stringent procedure for fan testing which they were the first ones to follow. The applicants need to send samples to the accredited laboratory for testing the fans and after testing in accordance to the standards of minimum energy performance standard, they issue a test report to NEECA (National energy efficiency and conservation authority) and on the basis of this report, the rating is to be issued. The higher number of stars means better quality and improved energy efficiency of the fan. He also told us that GFC fans received three star energy efficiency rating which is the highest industry standard for energy conservation. The result of this initiative would be an overall reduction in domestic energy consumption which would reduce the domestic demand and consequently would contribute in solving the energy crisis as well. It is estimated by RAFTAAR that if all the fans of Pakistan are replaced by energy efficient fans, it can reduce the total quantum of load shedding by 39 percent at existing consumption. 

Energy conservation is need of the hour. It is not only important from a patriotic perspective, it is also important from an individual perspective to lessen the burden on our pockets. So, given the above mentioned figures and facts, it is imperative to use energy efficient fans bearing a Pakistan energy label and an official scratch code from NEECA to save energy not only for the country but for our own savings as well.