AASIF HUMAYUN MALIK By the beginning of August, PEPCO had somehow managed to streamline the power supply system, thereby implementing the decisions of the National Energy Saving Conference. The closed factories had been reactivated and agriculture tubewells were being supplied electricity. Due to the cooperation of traders and shopkeepers, the closure of markets at 8:00pm, and the two-day holiday in government institutions, corporations and banks; the problem of energy had been focused and the power shortfall was proportionately shared. Even though PEPCOs rental power projects had started their operation and were generating electricity, yet natural calamities or disasters are unforeseen, which shows that at times man is at the mercy of Mother Nature. And things do not go as planned. In the beginning of this month, heavy downpours started and the hilly areas were the worst hit where houses and shops were razed to the ground. Thus, the outcome of the heavy rainfall was severe flooding of the hilly as well as plain areas. All the four provinces of Pakistan comprising Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan, including Azad Kashmir, were declared flood-affected. The water level was rising at a fast pace, the government was helpless, and several people faced the challenging task of survival. Millions of people and thousands of villages were affected by the floodwaters. In this backdrop, although a large number of organisations, including the Red Cross and the United Nations, and the government have reached out to the troubled masses, yet there is a constant need for more food items, tents, drinking water and medicines. PEPCO officials too have contributed Rs33 million as relief aid from their salaries and now its maintenance staff is trying to rejuvenate the power supply in Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Tausa Sharif, Sukkur and Balochistan. WAPDA and PEPCO officials are making efforts to restore power supply; however, production depends upon adequate fuel supply to the power plants. And in the absence of diesel, petrol, gas and furnace oil, it is difficult for these power plants to restart functioning. The biggest petrol supplying corporation in Pakistan, Mahmoodkot, in Muzaffargarh, has been closed for many days. The top priority is to restore PARCOs supply. It seems that it would take 10 to 15 days for the petrol supply to reach the power plants. But as the roads are currently blocked, it is equally impossible for kerosene oil or diesel to be supplied to consumers. PEPCO has suffered a loss of approximately four billion rupees. It would also have to reinstall 100,000 meters of electric wire that has been washed away by the floods. In addition, transformers having a capacity ranging from 25 to 200 KV have also been destroyed and need to be replaced. Taking stock of the above mentioned scenario, the PEPCO officials are working round the clock seven days a week. Their leave has been cancelled and the Managing Director has personally set an example in this regard. Besides this, Chairman PEPCO is undertaking aerial trips in army helicopters to gauge the loss in flood-affected areas. The Minister of Water and Power and other concerned authorities are also keenly monitoring the catastrophic flood disaster. We all pray to the Almighty to give us the strength to work tirelessly to overcome the disaster. Everyone has to fulfil his or her duty to the nation. The federal cabinet needs to once again decide to close all trade establishments at 8:00pm for power conservation. What is more, the good news is that the culture to observe these timings of markets has been acted upon and the public has got attuned to it. The writer is a member of the team presently assigned to conduct research in energy conservation.