Power Crisis: Citizen's Responsibilty


#1

We all know the power crisis is out of Government's hands. No matter how long we do govt bashing it is not going to be solved any time soon. It is expected for i guess 5 more years.

I want to start this thread to discuss constructively how citizens can made any difference. We are a finger pointing nation with no desire to change ourself. When we can't change ourself how can we expect to things get change for us automatically?

Karachi is a city of around 15 million population. roughly there could be around 4 million houses and offices. If each of them just save 100 watt per hour it will equal to 400 megawatts per hour.

What are your thoughts?


#2

Although I agree there is a civic responsibility of the people of any country to save energy, I highly doubt the particular energy crisis faced by Pakistan is the peoples fault, or that they can make significant contribution in easing the load. Yes there are filthy rich people who unfortunately are also the biggest crooks, using a lot of energy and not paying their bills. But I'd assume these are in the minority first of all, plus there will be no convincing them of their civic duties. The government and power utilities need to crack down hard on these criminals and enforce the law.

I recently read an article of a KESC representative complaining how DHA residents consumes the most power and don't pay for it. Well then what is KESC doing about it if they've already isolated a major black hole in the power network? Why don't they have their asses thrown in jail?

And yes I know how Pakistan works, and off all the 'contacts' these people living in DHA must have, but my point is, this is not a problem the REST of the people living in Karachi can really solve. This is a matter of law enforcement. Also I don't need to mention the governments hand in wasting energy. Street lights remaining on throughout the day. These little things add up.

In developed countries I find there is a higher sense of civic duty, but from a governments perspective you can't expect people to act like good citizens and take it on faith that they'll be honest, pay their bills, not waste energy etc. So these governments in developed countries ENFORCE the laws. People being good citizens might be due to their sense of civic responsibility to some extent, but I can guarantee the vast majority do it because they don't want to get in trouble, get fined or land in jail!


#3

i agree with you. There are bijli chores, there is management by government but even then power is short. Because demand is growing faster than the supply, and i afraid the power supply gap is only going to get worst.

Load shedding has boosted Sales of UPSes - They *consume* Energy. A 1KVA UPS means u need to charge it from equal electricity when the light get back creating more energy demand from already exhausted supply.

We can have another thread for discussing how govt should enforce law and introduce effective strategies to lower down the energy needs. I have started this thread to have ideas about minimizing power demand from the consumer end.


#4

There are bijli chores. =)


#5

This is completely not the fault of any citizen. We should be able to use as much electricity as we want. Its the govt's job to supply that electricity.


#6

[quote=", post:, topic:"]

This is completely not the fault of any citizen. We should be able to use as much electricity as we want. Its the govt’s job to supply that electricity.
[/quote]

Wrong. You should be able to use as much electricity as you REQUIRE.


#7

@sah: can you please link or point me in the direction of that article?

My understanding was vastly different; while it is true that DHA residents consume a larger than proportionate amount of electricity, it was my understanding that the billing recovery rates within the DHA areas was higher than that of most other areas in Karachi.

My estimate was that total overhead (including line losses, billing issues etc..) stood for the DHA areas at around ~16-17%. Whereas areas outside of DHA such as Saddar, Delhi Colony, Clifton etc... the line losses were a few percentage points higher.

I fully admit, I could be wrong here =)

Now, as far as my understanding goes, there are four basic issues that plague KESC:

(1) Technical Line Losses:

Technical line Losses in "good areas" of Karachi are estimated to be higher than 10-12 percent. In poorly planned, jugar style infrastructure-heavy areas, the line losses creep in excess of 15-18%. This is atrocious, considering the international standard is around 7-8%. To put it in perspective, each percentage (across all of KESC) is equivalent to a billion dollars a year in lost revenue. You can never eliminate line losses, but you can minimize them with careful load planning and investments in your transmission and generation infrastructure. Unfortunately, KESC is far, far behind on this count. Now as citizens, we can't do much to fix this, but we can certainly alleviate the problems by ensuring wiring in our homes, to the meters and forward are installed to a standard which minimizes these issues.

(2) Power Generation / Supply:

KESC is NOT a power generation company, simply a transmission utility. They make money by buying the electricity from PEPCO / WAPDA / IPP's etc... and transferring it into your homes and businesses. They basically charge a markup on their buying rates and cost of transmission as their profit.

There is a shortage of power in Pakistan, there are no two ways about it, even if we all reduced our power consumption by 30% (which would be significant), there would still not be enough power in Pakistan to light every home and business. There just isn't enough. Chances are that at any given time in the year, there is some place in Pakistan which is suffering from load shedding, because there is a shortage here or there. This is a just a fact.

What can we do about it? Pressure the politicians, the decision makers, the politerati of Karachi / Pakistan to get off their collective asses and make the creation and support of IPP's a serious concern. Stop building roads and extravagant planned areas (creek marina, seaview etc...) which are only going to increase the density and pressure on our infrastructure.

A relative of mine was intimately involved at one stage, in setting up a power plant here in Karachi (10+ years ago), but they could not get it off the ground because Mr. 10% and Mr. 15% etc... all had various issues and interests to protect. Cronyism is the root cause of the lack of power generation facilities in Pakistan. Each government has their own, and when inevitably they fall, programs and ideas initiated by cronies of the previous regime inevitably falter. 16 years of failed starts and projects have resulted in this travesty.

I mean consider this staggering fact: Sindh has amongst the world's largest coal deposits in the world (180 Billion Tons!), utilizing a few percent of this coal could power Pakistan for the next 40 years! Yet, we have to see any development whatsoever in this respect. Just think about it, its mind boggling.

Don't believe me? Read this: http://www.paktribune.com/news/print.php?id=155007

(3) Billing & Recovery: This is a cultural problem; we consume what we cannot afford, and when push comes to shove, we just shrug. The poor can't pay because they are poor, yet they consume more than they can afford. The rich and connected can pay, but choose to cheat because they think they have every right to do so in the pursuit of even greater riches. KESC, for all intents and purposes, just has to nod and grin.

Cut off the power to the poor who cant pay for it and they riot (last summer anyone?), and then comes a call inevitably from the top somewhere to turn it back on. Cut the power to the rich, they will !@#$% and scream until they give in and collapse. There is no escape.

Frankly, we as a people, lack the formal training (the innate ability to care) to function in a society where our actions directly affect someone else. I mean, what is the point of destroying KESC complaint and maintenance offices, their trucks and equipment? Where is the common sense in stealing wire from the electricity poles?

Consumption of electricity is a privilege, one that you pay for. If you could get this through to 90% of the people, who tend to perceive it as birth right, you would probably solve half the problem.

(4) Power Theft:

This is a huge issue. There are entire "malls" and "colonies" which are run on a kunda basis, and as sah rightly pointed out, there are probably tons of people who live in DHA and wealthy areas who steal by not paying for their electricity. There isn't much KESC can do about it (see above), but this is where we can make a difference.

Admonish those who steal electricity and be willing to sacrifice something (friendship?) over it. It is only then that perhaps people will realize that stealing electricity is no different than stealing food off of someone's plate. However, given our polite (sarcasm) culture, I can guarantee that there are very few people out there who would confront, much less report, electricity theft. Want to make a difference? At least embarrass the criminals.

I have more to say, but I am going now go and eat some dinner before the power goes out again, for the third time this day... =)


#8

[quote=", post:, topic:"]

Wrong. You should be able to use as much electricity as you REQUIRE.
[/quote]

Need vs Want

As long as you pay for it, you should be able to consume as much as you want. This is the free market principle. Now, if you bring in civility which would involve you caring for the welfare of others, yes, then want should transform to need, but alas we all know how that goes. Just take a look at the streets as see the paan, spit and piss stains that mark every square inch of this city. Look at the way we act; look at the way we talk. This was supposed to be the model Islamic nation? Tragic.


#9

@Raza: Sorry I don't have the exact link to that article. If I remember correctly I read it on the Dawn newspaper website though.

As for the free market principle. Its a bit idealistic, and that's where your civic responsibilities come in. Just because you're a multi-millionaire doesn't mean you go on a vacation while leaving the air conditioners in your house on. You could probably pay the bill, but its wasteful and unnecessary. Same way just because your city may have a good garbage pickup and disposal system doesn't mean you throw your garbage on the streets expecting it to be the city governments responsibility to pick it up

Successful nations do not follow the free market principle alone, otherwise you're heading for disaster since money is fake, whereas resources are limited and scarce! :)


#10

Well, from what I can see, we cannot produce electricity to satisfy our needs (/wants) - simple. We're a developing country, a.k.a. a poor country and we don't have the resources or expertise to do it.

So electricity is scarce. On the other hand, 1 (maybe more) out of 5 houses has a kunda connection and don't pay for the electricity they use. Just because they don't pay for it, or indeed even if they can, conservation of energy is unheard of.

So KESC doesn't get the money for what it supplies. It takes loans; doesn't get money, so borrows more, loans some more, makes agreements. Doesn't get enough money back so can't pay back.

It's a vicious cycle. The only people who can fix it are the people. If we all just realise that electricity isn't a freely available commodity, and start conserving it, start paying for what we use, I believe this crisis wouldn't exist.

We're having 1.5 to 2 hour load-shedding power cuts and the streets outside are lit as bright as day, in connection with Rabi-ul-Awwal. Okay, its an occasion to celebrate, but don't go too far please.


#11

@sah

Yes I agree that the free market principle is idealistic and unsuitable when it comes to goods and services characterized as basic needs. However, I think, the success of such a model (free market) depends upon the participant's understanding and willingness to co-operate. A free market collapses or provides imperfect results under two particular conditions which would be relevant to Pakistan:

(1) Information Disparity - If consumers don't know how the system works, they can't react to it. In a country where the majority are completely illiterate this is a huge issue. The system expects the chowkidars and their ilk to understand and co-operate in order for it to work. If you ask me, it's set up to fail.

(2) Grey Market - Where the same product is available for less. This is your kunda business, where the local KESC representative comes by and collects his monthly tip in lieu of the otherwise daunting KESC bills. As I stated before, my guess is at least 15% of the Karachi populace is on this system. Now, I don't expect these people to be using air conditioners and large screen TV's but it adds up when you consider the fact that the population of this city is in excess of 16 million.

As far as the DHA part goes, the black hole that you speak of must be Phase 4 and 5. These phases are unique in the sense that they were extremely poorly planned. They suffer from extremely high density and that the development there has happened in a largely rag-tag manner. A great example of the infrastructure is the open sewage lines in Phase 4 (seriously, open sewage lines? come on!) and the wonderfully artistic miles of sagging electrical lines running around the residential areas in Phase V

Why is it a virtual black hole for electrical consumption or why does KESC not recover as much as they should? Here are a couple of things to consider:

(1) The majority of all foreign consulates live in Phase V

(2) There are two massive palace-like structures owned by foreign Sheikhs located there

(3) Rag-tag commercial areas like the inner-Tauheed are rife with fly-by-night operations like car garages and welders

(4) The density in Phase 4 is greater than any other Phase because it was designed initially as the section where lower level army officers would live, as such the plots were smaller and now you have more (wealthy) families living per square km than anywhere else in the DHA. In similar fashion, Phase V has more 500 sq. yd plots than any other area, as such wealthy family density is higher. The reason why I state wealthy is that on average, the wealthy family were consume much more than a comparable family with less aggregate income.

(5) Phase V is also home to the majority of the politicians who probably, as expected, don't pay their bills. The on going joke is that if you get elected, first things on your agenda are (1) buy a white prado (2) find a home in Phase V and (3) get a ridiculous set of bored policemen to follow you around while you go buy eggs...

/end rant =)


#12

if govt can't do its part by supplying enough electricity and atleast it should facilitate and make imports of generators/power plants duty free so that common consumers and investors interested in setting up power generation units could be attracted


#13

This crisis is getting worse every year. If they start building 1 power plant now it will complete in about 2013.

But by 2013 the demand would have increased by alot more then what it is now. They could meet the demands of 2013 if they start building at least 4 mega power plants NOW.

Number of plants being built = 0


#14

why do powerplant need so much time to build? can't they increase manpower and get the work done on fast track basis..?


#15

@RAZA

Thats what i needed in this thread, to have creative/cnstructive juices flowing.

I was frustrated today already had 4 times load shedding totalling 7.5 hours black out


#16

[quote=", post:, topic:"]

why do powerplant need so much time to build? can’t they increase manpower and get the work done on fast track basis…?
[/quote]

Ha. That’ll probably result in whats happening to flyovers in Karachi. They fall down…!


#17

^ the one built by nha wihc felt was a result of corruption and ill-design passed to save some lambe-hath walas factory


#18

You will not see 'a' kunda in DHA. And now that all KESC meters

are put outside the homes, there is little that anyone can do to

'fix' the meters. But what the DHA residents are asked to do, is

to subsidize all the kunda-masters of the city through the "Fuel

Adjustment Charges". It's not a part of what you have consumed,

yet it appears on your KESC bill, as a large % of the whole.

The kundas happen in "no-go" areas, where a certain political

party carries clout and everybody in Karachi knows it. People

use electrical stoves to cook food in these areas of Karachi,

instead of gas, because bijli is "fee-ree". There are whole swathes

of residential areas in Karachi where KESC has put-in no meters.

There, the lineman takes petty cash from each house (Rs. 400-

600) and turns the juice on for them for the whole month. No

questions asked. This isn't a secret. It's a political reality.

When the army took over KESC, they sent teams headed by a

major to cut these free-loaders off. When they tried to shut them

down, riots happened. Political pressure was brought to bear and

KESC submitted. Line charges continue to soar.

I am sure there must be some folks committing bijli theft, somehow

in DHA, but the real chunk of kundas goes on in areas of this city

where theft of national resources is considered to be your "right",

rather than a vice by the masses.

.

.

.

Sheikh 'Paseena Der Paseena' Chilli


#19

[quote=", post:, topic:"]

You will not see ‘a’ kunda in DHA. And now that all KESC meters

are put outside the homes, there is little that anyone can do to

’fix’ the meters. But what the DHA residents are asked to do, is

to subsidize all the kunda-masters of the city through the “Fuel

Adjustment Charges”. It’s not a part of what you have consumed,

yet it appears on your KESC bill, as a large % of the whole.

The kundas happen in “no-go” areas, where a certain political

party carries clout and everybody in Karachi knows it. People

use electrical stoves to cook food in these areas of Karachi,

instead of gas, because bijli is “fee-ree”. There are whole swathes

of residential areas in Karachi where KESC has put-in no meters.

There, the lineman takes petty cash from each house (Rs. 400-

600) and turns the juice on for them for the whole month. No

questions asked. This isn’t a secret. It’s a political reality.

When the army took over KESC, they sent teams headed by a

major to cut these free-loaders off. When they tried to shut them

down, riots happened. Political pressure was brought to bear and

KESC submitted. Line charges continue to soar.

I am sure there must be some folks committing bijli theft, somehow

in DHA, but the real chunk of kundas goes on in areas of this city

where theft of national resources is considered to be your “right”,

rather than a vice by the masses.

.

.

.

Sheikh ‘Paseena Der Paseena’ Chilli

[/quote]

I totally agree with you, especially on “no-go areas”.

Moreover, in a larger picture (not just KESC), people in FATA don’t pay bill (still they don’t?). Somebody has to pay bill. In the end, “good bill paying” consumers have to pay not only his bill but also the the share for the people with “kunda”, no-meter, and FATA. That’s why we have so much expensive electricity.

First of all, you people might be amazed how much electricity I safe in my home (totally legal). Two years back, with the help of people in my home, calculated each electric items consumption (yup, all on paper). Replaced all bulbs with energy-savers. Changed many habits, now only one 9 watt energy saver is lit in night, all lights in-side and out-side goes off when we sleep. If a room is empty all lights goes off (another changed habit). Weekly (sometime even daily) adjust cooling thermometer of fridge. Replaced equipment with more energy efficient (took quite a time). What were the results? In summer, we got average bill of Rs. 2200 and in winter, it even went down to Rs. 1300 (I wanted to get the low-price slab but before that winter was over).

Moreover, I had gave some ideas for government before forum was hacked.

Long Term (need 5+ ~ 7+ years to complete):

Invest in Hydroelectric power dam. Create three or four large dams and dozens (or hundreds) of small dams (for local community).

Medium Term (may take 3+ ~ 5+ years to complete):

Create no less than 12 (or maybe even 24) atomic power plants. We are creating Chasma II with China and planned to go for Chasma 3 and 4 but need to speed up thing. Atomic power plant’s electricity is also cheap.

Moreover, invest in alternate-alternate technologies. Wind farms, solar panel farms, coal electricity (without digging coal, just like Australians did).

Short Term (may take a year or two):

Get electricity from Iran, Ex-USSR States, China, it’s not difficult. Even some ex-USSR state (I can’t recall it’s name) wanted sell excess electricity to Pakistan. But Pakistan snail-speed government can’t get that project out of paper.

But no government, whether political or non-political, want to give relief to people, because if we have full electricity and our stomach are full then we’ll question the government (and bureaucrats) “why you have bullet proof car?” “why you need Mercedes?” “why and how your children study in foreign universities?” “why you are living in so much expensive house when your monthly salary is just few thousand”.

I’ll be banish to even write these questions :)

Fe-Aman Allah.


#20

[quote=", post:, topic:"]

I totally agree with you, especially on “no-go areas”.

Moreover, in a larger picture (not just KESC), people in FATA don’t pay bill (still they don’t?). Somebody has to pay bill. In the end, “good bill paying” consumers have to pay not only his bill but also the the share for the people with “kunda”, no-meter, and FATA. That’s why we have so much expensive electricity.

First of all, you people might be amazed how much electricity I safe in my home (totally legal). Two years back, with the help of people in my home, calculated each electric items consumption (yup, all on paper). Replaced all bulbs with energy-savers. Changed many habits, now only one 9 watt energy saver is lit in night, all lights in-side and out-side goes off when we sleep. If a room is empty all lights goes off (another changed habit). Weekly (sometime even daily) adjust cooling thermometer of fridge. Replaced equipment with more energy efficient (took quite a time). What were the results? In summer, we got average bill of Rs. 2200 and in winter, it even went down to Rs. 1300 (I wanted to get the low-price slab but before that winter was over).

Moreover, I had gave some ideas for government before forum was hacked.

Long Term (need 5+ ~ 7+ years to complete):

Invest in Hydroelectric power dam. Create three or four large dams and dozens (or hundreds) of small dams (for local community).

Medium Term (may take 3+ ~ 5+ years to complete):

Create no less than 12 (or maybe even 24) atomic power plants. We are creating Chasma II with China and planned to go for Chasma 3 and 4 but need to speed up thing. Atomic power plant’s electricity is also cheap.

Moreover, invest in alternate-alternate technologies. Wind farms, solar panel farms, coal electricity (without digging coal, just like Australians did).

Short Term (may take a year or two):

Get electricity from Iran, Ex-USSR States, China, it’s not difficult. Even some ex-USSR state (I can’t recall it’s name) wanted sell excess electricity to Pakistan. But Pakistan snail-speed government can’t get that project out of paper.

But no government, whether political or non-political, want to give relief to people, because if we have full electricity and our stomach are full then we’ll question the government (and bureaucrats) “why you have bullet proof car?” “why you need Mercedes?” “why and how your children study in foreign universities?” “why you are living in so much expensive house when your monthly salary is just few thousand”.

I’ll be banish to even write these questions :)

Fe-Aman Allah.

[/quote]

You for president!