Lahore:Electricity in Pakistan is generated, transmitted, distributed and retail supplied by two vertically integrated public sector utilities: Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) for all of Pakistan (except Karachi), and the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) for the City of Karachi and its surrounding areas. There are around 20 independent power producers that contributes significantly in electricity generation in Pakistan.
For years, the matter of balancing Pakistan’s supply against the demand for electricity has remained a largely unresolved matter. Pakistan faces a significant challenge in revamping its network responsible for the supply of electricity.
While the government claims credit for overseeing a turnaround in the economy through a comprehensive recovery, it has just failed to oversee a similar improvement in the quality of the network for electricity supply.
Contrary to Pakistani government and expatriate claims, Pakistan suffers from a massive electricity shortage. Electricity generation in Pakistan has shrunk by up to 50% in recent years due to an overreliance on Fossil Fuel. In 2008, availability of power in Pakistan falls short of the population’s needs by 15% Pakistan was hit by its worst power crisis in 2007, after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the following riots. Production fell by 6000 Megawatts and massive blackouts followed suit. The blame was laid on the then president, Pervez Musharraf, and was instrumental in his defeat. Load Shedding (deliberate blackouts) and power blackouts have become severe in Pakistan in recent years. The main problem with Pakistan’s poor power generation is rising political instability, together with rising demands for power and lack of efficiency.
But the challenges faced by Pakistan are by no means easy. It is indeed the case that the business of reforming the electricity supply network is just not about short term and often incomplete measures of the kind that Pakistanis have been accustomed to.
During 2010 Pakistan floods and 2005 Kashmir earthquake power stations, power distribution and transmission and other energy infrastructures were damaged. During the floods the recently constructed Jinnah hydroelectric power plant was flooded in addition to severe damages to transmission and distribution network and installations while several power plants and refineries were threatened by rising waters and had to be shut down. Natural gas field output had to be reduced as the flood waters approached the wells. There has also been some concern by Pakistani nuclear activists over the effect of natural disasters on nuclear plants specially over the Chashma Nuclear Power Complex, since the plant lies over a geological fault. Due to over reliance of Pakistan on dams for electricity generation,some environmental impacts of dams such as submergence of usable/ecological land and their negative impact on Pakistan’s mangrove forests due to loss of river silt
load, as well as increased risk of severe floods have become evident.