KARACHI: To overcome awful power outages, citizens of Pakistan were forced to spend billions of rupees on power generators as import registered around Rs 110 billion in fiscal year 2013-14 (FY14), traders said.
The power generation experts said the said money could be enough to establish a 650 megawatts (MW) coal based power plant.
The import figures of this trade evidently argue the claims made by government thousands of megawatts electricity included into mainstream national grid last year.
According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) latest figures, import bill of power generating machinery stood at Rs 110.403 billion at the end of FY14, regesteing 19 percent increase over the import bill of Rs 92.667 billion in FY 13.
Despite sky rocketing claims by regime of reducing electricity shortfall, import bill of power generating machinery in July 2014 was still depicting alarming situation as Rs 6.963 billion worth of machinery imported.
Cumulatively, in past four years including FY14, FY13, FY12 and FY 11 around Rs 385 billion spent on import of power machinery by the Pakistani nation, which could be used to establish many power generating plants.
The situation does not only illustrate the consumption of precious foreign exchange while it also depicts frightening exposure of nation to environmental and health hazards. Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed but in Pakistan the usage of these generators are extraordinary due to extended hours of daily power load shedding. If used incorrectly, gasoline, kerosene and other gas-powered generators can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shocks, fires and burns.
Generators produce high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in their exhaust. Carbon monoxide around a generator and its exhaust tube can build up within minutes, even outdoors. Carbon monoxide can linger for hours, even after the generator is shut off.
Similarly, the alternate of generators, Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) are also poisonous to human health especially for children as the plates inside a lead battery boiled the heavy water that then produced hydrogen and other poisonous gases.
While increasing use of gas and diesel generators create health and environmental hazards it also widening the country’s trade deficit by putting burden on oil imports as well.
As per PBS’s data import bill of Pakistan’s petroleum group stood at $14.838 billion at the end of FY14 while it was settled at $14.972 billion in FY13, though the import bill of petroleum group registered not much increase in FY14 due to almost 10 percent appreciation of Pakistani rupee against greenback hence the quantity of said group increased much in proportion to the cost.
Given the ongoing shortage of natural gas, rising domestic use of gas generators as well its usage in heavy industrial power generating machineries, the shortfall is expected to linger awfully in coming years. According to industry experts the shortfall of natural gas will jump to 3,500-4,000 million cubic feet per day in 2020.
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