There is massive power loadshedding across the country. Factories and plants are closing down. Manufacturing businesses and exports are down. Unemployment and poverty is increasing. At the same time, there are riots on the streets and trains and public property is being set on fire. Governments response? Implement the short-term energy generation project initiated in 2007 through rental power plants to eliminate loadshedding by December 2009 and work concurrently on other medium and long term thermal and hydel projects. Rental power plants are set up to meet short-term and emergency requirements of a country and are typically commissioned within 4-6 months based on available technology. Now the question is do we need power plant? There is a deficit of about 5,000MW in the system and this deficiency is primarily a generation deficiency not capable of being met by better augmentation of existing plants or saving of line losses. Better augmentation and line losses can help but not solve the problem. The government has a choice of either providing power or allowing 18-hour shutdowns which has deteriorated the situation. The cost of purchase and setting up of power plants cannot be subject of controversy as the government of Pakistan pays nothing for them and in no way guarantees any repayments to the lenders of rental plants. GOP guarantees that the state-owned entities buying power will be able to pay for them. Rental sponsors have taken a leap of faith and are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in fast-track development of these rental plants. Sponsors and lenders are uncomfortable that they are being subjected to misplaced, ill-informed media trial sponsored by vested interests who do not want to see power shortages removed on priority and are vocal in their criticism of individuals and companies setting up rental plants. GOP takes no responsibility for payment of loans taken by rental sponsors, and rental plants are successfully set up in 6-8 months whereas IPPs take 3-4 years. If anyone has better solutions to resolve the power crisis, they should come forward with concrete proposals for public and govt consideration. ZAHRA JABEEN, Karachi, November 20.