Editorial : Electricity conservation - Tuesday 29th March 2011

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/29/electricity-conservation.html

THERE can be little argument that the country will witness electricity shortfalls in the months to come. The government, it seems, already has a plan under way to combat this. A senior government official told this newspaper on Sunday that the water and power ministry has forwarded a summary to the prime minister proposing a return to the two-day weekend and advancing Pakistan Standard Time by an hour. The measures are targeted at conserving electricity in primarily the commercial and business spheres. Dawn
However, there is a need for clarity and consensus on the issue. First, resetting the clock and mandating two weekly holidays has been tried before, by this and the previous government. Has any real effort been made to quantify the gains netted in terms of power conservation? The official told that the additional day off per week is expected to save about 300MW and lead to fuel savings in transportation. Altering PST is expected to save another 400-500MW per day. What are these estimates based on? The government needs to share the information so that the public can gauge the significance of the savings. Second, the government must review its capacity to implement the laws and practices that allow savings in electricity through such means. The theory is that retail and commercial outfits will cease activity by sundown — which would have been advanced by an hour — thus saving the energy that would have been used after nightfall. However, this depends entirely on the government`s ability to ensure that such activities do indeed cease at sundown. If, due to poor implementation of the law, businesses extend their hours of operation, the electricity conserved will be minimal. Third, there is a need to balance the gains against any losses that may be suffered by the business community, and indeed all workplaces, by having in place a five-day week. What is needed is a general agreement that there are more pros than cons in the proposed measures. If the government wants to go ahead with these proposals, it must provide concrete data to earn the support of the citizenry.

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