Overcoming the energy crisis

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Federal government has announced the formation of a government Industry Energy Council to find the solution to the energy crises faced by the country due to the increasing gap between demand and supply. This gap is widening with the passage of time due to the failure of government policies, mismanagement and corruption in the government owned generation, transmission and distribution companies.

Although Pakistan is blessed with abundant natural resources to generate energy from water, coal, wind and sun, the bureaucratic controls have not allowed these resources to be used. The centralisation of energy policies and implementation by federal government is the main reason of present crises.

In all the developed countries, the energy sector is owned and managed by private companies along with the government. The management of these is in the hands of professionals. The governments reluctance to privatise the distribution companies is contributing to the crises. Many state institutions and governments are not paying for the electricity consumed by them and the common consumers are being forced to also pay for them.

The energy crises can only be solved if it is freed from the government control and its distribution is given to the private sector at the district level. The supply for residential, commercial and industrial consumers must be handed by different companies. But there should be one company responsible for generation, transmission and distribution at district level. The government should provide incentive to the private sector for investment in the energy sector. The incentive could be in the form of free land and no tax for some years on import of machinery and equipment and income.

S T HUSSAIN

Lahore