Heavy load-shedding spurs UPS, generators’ sale

RAWALPINDI: The demand for UPS and generators by the electricity consumers is increasing day-by-day as the authorities concerned have failed to come up with any solution of the continuing power crisis.The demand of the uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units, batteries, power inverters, and generators has increased manifold due to scheduled and unscheduled power outages in the urban and rural areas. Data compiled by APP revealed that nowadays, these products are being sold in the market on exorbitant rates. The shortage of batteries has also increased the miseries of the customers. This year, the UPS prices range between Rs 7,000 and Rs 25,000, depending on the capacity of the unit. Various varieties of UPS are available in the market. A dealer of imported and local-made UPS said that the demand for the locally made UPS has almost doubled while the demand for Chinese UPS is noticing a downward trend as it is costly while on the other hand, its repair charges are also high. When asked about the demand of these items, he said that it is increasing day-by-day. Most of the consumers said that they have to cut their expenses to save money to get new power back-up equipments as there is no immediate solution to the energy crisis.Other options are being used by the citizens and the demand of inverters and gas-generators has also increased considerably. An inverter is available in the market at minimum of Rs 5,000 while the gas-generator is being sold at Rs 35,000. Altaf, a school teacher said that the price of alternate energy products such as UPS and generators has skyrocketed and their manufacturers are fleecing customers by taking advantage of the prolonged power outages. A generator dealer in Raja Bazaar said that the past 15 days had brought a 50 percent increase in the sales. “The price of a small generator, used in houses and shops, was Rs 16,000 last year, but is now being sold for Rs 23,000 to Rs 26,000. The demand for heavy-duty generators, used for running air-conditioners etc, is between Rs 76,000 and Rs 102,000,” he said.It was also observed that the traders and dealers of famous brands of UPS are selling their products at different rates and earning a huge margin. The prices have now gone beyond the purchasing power of the people, and only those who are well-off are able to purchase this essential commodity. A UPS dealer said that the UPS is preferred over generators as the latter made a lot of noise, adding that a powerful UPS setup could simultaneously operate computers, fans, and lights. It was also revealed during the survey that the local market was facing an ‘artificial shortage’ of certain parts of locally manufactured UPS as a handful of dealers had formed a cartel to manipulate prices. The consumers complained that most of the UPS manufacturers were using silver wires in the transformers instead of the heavy-duty copper wire. A silver wire UPS has a short life span and cannot withstand long spells of power outages as it heats up and burns away quickly. Owing to persistent prolonged power outages, the dealers of generators and UPS have got a golden opportunity to charge price of these items at their free will, as their sales go up. Unfortunately, there is no official mechanism for checking the prices and quality of such appliances.“The Chinese generators cannot properly work because they frequently develop faults,” a dealer said and added that majority of the people used to buy UPS units but they did not work properly due to prolonged load-shedding. Besides, the prices of batteries have also gone up exorbitantly. Warranties of different duration are offered for new batteries, but the mechanics say that repaired batteries can also serve the purpose for three months with minimum expenses of Rs3,500. 

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Aaj Kal