Shortage of “Governance”, not Electricity
27 June, 2011
By Sardar Kalim Ilyas
Electricity shortage is one of the worst issues being faced by a common citizen of our country today. It leads to a number of crises including rapidly deteriorating economic conditions and business atmosphere in the country. The problems being faced in the name of shortage of electricity do not need to be elaborated as these are not only very well known but are being faced by every one of us.
To resolve any problem, it is extremely important to understand the cause of any problem. As regards the shortage of electricity, we are being constantly told stories of setting up new power projects, rental power projects etc. with the constantly changing dead lines to overcome the problem. So far, we have witnessed that the only thing which is constant in our country is the change of dead lines to achieve ‘goals’. This gives the impression that we probably do not know the real ‘goals’ of the decision makers as if the nation and the decision makers had anything common in ‘goals’, the issues would have been resolved by now. But are we really suffering from the problem of ‘shortage of electricity’ in our country. The supply of electricity is directly proportionate to the capacity of producing electricity.
As we are constantly being told about government’s efforts to overcome the issue by setting up new as well as rental power projects, it is clear that we are being told about the shortage of capacity of producing electricity. The shortage of capacity to produce would definitely result into the shortage of supply, and as an obvious result a massive load shedding as being currently faced at every home, shop and office as well as industrial unit. But the question remains there that are we really suffering from the shortage of electricity or the real problem lie somewhere else.
Let’s have a look at our capacity of producing electricity. The main sources which we have for producing electricity include Hydal, Thermal and Nuclear. Hydal is the main source indeed, so far, of generating electricity in our country. Apart from other numerous projects, Terbela, Mangla and Ghazi Brotha are having the capacity of 3478 MW, 1000 MW and 1450 MW respectively. After including the capacity of other 10 small Hydal projects, the total capacity of WAPDA’s 13 Hydal Power Projects comes to 6461 MW.
WAPDA’s 12 Thermal Power Projects have the capacity of 4811 MW. So, the WAPDA has a capacity of producing 11272 MW out of these two sources. KESC’s four projects based on Thermal and Gas sources have a total capacity of producing 1756 MW. Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have a total capacity of producing 6365 MW. Our two Nuclear based projects, as per reports, are having the capacity of producing 462 MW. It is pertinent to point out here that the capacity of Hydal Power Projects is dependent on the flow of our rivers.
As per experts’ reports on the subject, the total capacity of producing electricity in Pakistan is 19855 MW. Just few months back, demand of electricity in Pakistan was estimated as 14500 MW (approx.). As per a news report issued by PEPCO sources on May 18, 2011, demand of electricity in the country went up to 18,300 Megawatt and the production went down to 12,200 Megawatt, leaving the country with a shortage of more than 6000 Megawatt. Just after one day on May 19, 2011, shortage went up to more than 6500 Megawatt.
This means, despite having capacity of producing 19855 Megawatt, our production was even less than 11700 Megawatt. With this capacity of producing electricity, we need to be one of the ‘electricity exporting countries’. But we are unfortunately being miserably failed to utilize the capacity we already have and are now producing around 10000 MW (approx.) leaving the country and its economy with the shortage of thousands and thousands of Megawatt. In this scenario, do we really believe that setting up new, second hand or rental power projects would achieve the goal of bridging the gap between demand and supply. This means that the fault is not with the ‘capacity’ or our ‘ability’ to produce but the fault is in our own system of running the affairs. I do not blame or doubt anyone’s sincerity but we are definitely being a victim of our own bad policies, of our own way of governance.
‘Governance’ is a process of making and implementing decisions. The decision which we take and then the way we implement our decisions make the ‘governance’ good or bad. There is no doubt in the fact that we do not have any shortage of capacity to produce electricity but we are being the victim of bad decisions, policies or shortage of governance abilities.
To ensure good governance in the electricity sector, Government has to stop taking decisions on its own and must involve all the stakeholders at all levels of making and implementing decisions. Without ensuring complete transparency and eradication of corruption of any sort, good governance would remain a dream only. There is no short cut to overcome the shortage of governance.