The Economic Coordination Committee’s decision to consider raising the profit margin for the oil marketing companies and dealers would apart from aggravating the vicious cycle of inflation would badly affect the energy crisis. Since furnace oil is largely used to generate electricity, its price is going to impact the electricity’s generation as well as the cost.

On the other hand, disturbing news is coming in that the total shortfall of electricity has reached 5,000MW; the situation has been exacerbated by the shutdown of the Chashma power plant, following the nationwide breakdown late Sunday that is still resulting in grisly blackouts across the country. While some of the power houses have been repaired, Chashma is still not functioning. The ostensible explanation is that some power houses have been closed in order to avert an accidental trip. President Zardari’s assurance on Tuesday that those responsible for the breakdown in the power supply would be brought to book appears more of a diversionary remark as overall the situation he is now talking about is the result of years of neglect. Now in urban areas, the loadshedding spells have prolonged to almost 15 hours while in rural areas the situation is much worse. Temporary arrangements and quick-fixes, which have been the practice so far has to be given up. These power breakdowns make very obvious the need for building large dams.