THE news of the 13.6 percent increase in the electricity tariffs has left the poor public shell-shocked. There is considerable anger on the streets because the increase has coincided with long spells of loadshedding of both gas and electricity. The most disappointing thing to note is that the new rates would also apply to the poor consumers using below 100 units. This is part of the IMF strings attached to its aid package, which seeks to cut government subsidies. Were we not better off than before we had gone to this Shylock with a begging bowl? As of now, it is only the government coffers that are full, while the average man is unable to keep the wolf from the door. The situation on the energy front has further aggravated because the demand and supply gap has not being bridged. Little by little the government could have made considerable difference during the past 18 months of its rule. Unfortunately, rather than adding more energy to the national grid, the response has been to raise the prices. This strategy would one day invite disastrous consequences because every day that goes by, the energy shortfall increases, forcing the people to pay through the nose. The water and power ministry should be focusing its attention on this aspect of the equation. On the other hand, the CNG shortage has been adding fuel to the fire. Again the scourge has reared its head because of the official indifference to taking simple steps like enhancing investment in gas exploration aimed at tapping the country's gas resources and finalising the crucial IPI pipeline project. So today the government has to resort to suspending the supply of gas to the filling stations for two days. But this ridiculous idea has had an adverse impact. Not only the entire CNG transport has to stay off the road, but also the ordinary domestic consumer has to put up with low pressure and eat half-cooked meals, a situation the rulers in our country do not have to encounter.