Ending Power Outages

There have been regular reports of loadshedding all over the country during the past week. From Swat to Sukkur, Lahore to Multan and rural areas in between, there have been power outages that have disrupted normal lives. Major cities like Multan and Lahore have been let off easy with 3–4 hours of daily loadshedding, while rural areas suffer for 8-10 hours a day. With sweltering heat throughout Pakistan, the lack of a reliable electricity supply to homes and businesses has caused immeasurable problems for citizens.
The government had promised that we would see an end to the power outages once Ramzan ended, but so far, that has only translated into a break in loadshedding during Eid holidays. The problem originally identified by the government was of not being able to provide gas and other power generation sources to producers, but this should have been resolved by now. Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) has reportedly picked up seven spot cargoes in the last three weeks, with another two expected in June from China. How is it then, that we are still facing a reported shortage of almost 5000MW against a daily national demand of 25000MW? Our total installed generation capacity is somewhere between 35000–40000MW, so this really should not be happening.
Certain distribution companies, such as the Multan Electric Power Company, have claimed that generation is not the issue, it is the system that is tripping under this tremendous load. But even if that is the case, the problem of faulty transmission lines and losses and trips as a result of that is an old problem. Why have successive governments not focused on this important issue?
However, all of this is irrelevant, as the new allied government’s functionaries have already identified the lack of LNG and other fuels as the main source of the problem. With the public facing the consistent barrage of heatwave, it is now time to deliver on what looks to be a simple ask, considering the cargoes for LNG have already been secured.

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