Incessant loadshedding has returned and so have the memories of 2012 and 2013 when power loadshedding was at its worst. Power shortfall surged to 7,000 megawatts on Sunday resulting in massive power cuts throughout the country. The shortfall went through the rough as mercury rose to 47 and 48 degrees Celsius in parts of Sindh and south Punjab, while major load centres such as Lahore, Karachi and the areas around Rawalpindi and Islamabad witnessed temperatures of of 43, 37 and 36 degrees Celsius, respectively. With temperatures expected to rise even more in the coming weeks and months the situation is indeed bleak. At the start of April (April 03, 2017 to be precise) Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif had claimed that the power crisis will be controlled in two to three weeks. But nearly four months after the claim, the situation instead of improving has taken a turn for the worst. Couple of days ago Dawn reported that PML-N government is considering hiring mobile power plants (MPPs) besides reviving some rental power plants (RPPs) it condemned almost six years ago. The news was rejected by the Khawaja Asif in a message posted on Twitter, however the journalist who filed the news, Khaleeq Kiani in response posted the minutes of the meeting in which the proposal was discussed. This show the desperation of the government that it had gone to the extent of considering rental power plants seven years after it targeted the previous government for the very same step. The government still maintains that it will bridge the shortfall by next year, but four years into the tenure the peak shortfall of 7,000 megawatts is a huge question mark on the performance of the relevant Ministry and the many claims of the government. The rationale behind spending millions probably billions on TV and print advertisements to highlight its ‘achievements’ in the power sector is also questionable. Looking at the current situation it would be apt to say that the government focused more on claims and advertisement than actual work in the power sector.
The power shortfall has brought back memories of PPP-tenure when loadhsedding was at its peak.