Editorial - Power problems - Monday, March 07, 2011

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=34836&Cat=8

Issues related to electricity never vanish from our horizon. With summer imminent now, thoughts of loadshedding and the nightmarish realities of life without power have begun to haunt us. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has spoken of a future where no cuts will be necessitated, but this is hard to believe as things now stand. Such promises made in the past have turned out to be nothing more than eyewash. Meanwhile, a further rise in the cost of power could be due – even though tariffs have been going up steeply for months. During talks in Islamabad, the IMF is reported to have recommended that the government delegate a role in electricity power regulation to NEPRA. The IMF is keen to see a cut in the subsidy on power – which the government says will stand at Rs139 billion by June – and has questioned the formula currently used to determine pricing.

The focus of the donor bodies, including the IMF and the World Bank, is to push up revenues for the government. For the government, the pressures of increased prices placed on people should also be a primary concern. Decisions under outside pressure do nothing to make the government look good. This also brings under question the government’s competence and its capacity to care for the people who elected it to power. Alongside the questions of pricing, we continue to see reports that state that more expensive power is being produced even though cheaper production is possible. A report in this newspaper asks why power plants using expensive furnace oil are being preferred over cheaper ones that could be run on gas. The issue of power plants has come up before – and the matter has been taken up by the Supreme Court. For most citizens, the intricacies are not easy to understand. But they are clear that they need power. The economy has already suffered immensely because of the shortfalls we have faced. The time has come to set up an autonomous body which includes experts to consider the many issues involved and put forward recommendations. And the public needs to know the truth. Otherwise we will remain mired in controversy, with lack of trust for the government leaving us, as citizens, constantly wondering if better solutions could have been found to a crisis that impacts both the functions of life and the budgets of households.

No comments:

Post a Comment