More energy woes are awaiting the nation as a report issued by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has contradicted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s claims that load-shedding will end by 2018. Ironically, the premier has repeatedly claimed that there will be no load-shedding by the end of his government’s term in 2018 while the NEPRA report is saying quite the opposite. When the PML-N campaigned for the general elections 2013, it made tall claims of ridding the nation of electricity shortages within days, then weeks, then months. Later, this was extended to six months, two years and lastly, till the end of its tenure. However, the latest NEPRA report says that the energy crisis will continue to haunt the country beyond 2018 due to serious problems in the power transmission system.
Reportedly, zero load-shedding across the country until 2018 is not possible due to inherent flaws in the system. The present power transmission and distribution system can bear the load of only 16,000 MW. Power experts believe that if more power is added to the existing distribution system, it will break down and result in blackout in the country. Faulty planning is cited as a major reason for government’s failure to overcome the energy crisis. It is a pity that the government is struggling to ensure the availability of a basic utility of life that guarantees economic prosperity of a nation. No doubt, the duration of load-shedding has reduced but this blessing is limited to urban areas only, while the situation in small cities and villages not only remains the same but is likely to aggravate due to closure of canals in the last week of December for desilting. Overall, the performance of the PML-N government has not been satisfactory in the energy sector. Long term planning and its proper implementation are what the government has failed to do. Already, the electricity crisis has put many industries on the verge of collapse. In fact, the PML-N government has completely failed to understand the severity of the energy crisis, and has been attempting to befool the country with false claims. Instead of issuing contradictory statements, the government should present the real picture of the crisis. It should realistically describe the extent of the crisis and then present its strategy on how to deal with the problem. Electricity load shedding will not go away till the government comes up with a clear strategy to deal with the crisis. It is in the interests of the government that it should stop its false claims that have no worth and only result in a credibility crisis for itself. If the government continues to make fake promises, it will only further lose the people’s trust. Instead, there should be planning in sequence. Along with working on new projects, the government needs to overhaul the existing outdated national grid, which cannot sustain the increasing load of electricity.