Two-day holiday, clock re-setting on the cards
By Khaleeq Kiani
ISLAMABAD: With temperatures starting to rise, the government is expected to ban use of low-quality electric and gas equipment and replace about 216,000 outdated tube-wells across the country to save about 2,000MW of electricity this summer.
A senior government official told Dawn on Sunday that the government was likely to return to the two-day weekly holiday and advance the Pakistan Standard Time by an hour. The weekly holidays are estimated to save about 300MW in addition to other fuel savings in transportation. Advancing the PST is estimated to save another 400-500MW every day.
The sources said that the ministry of water and power had already forwarded a summary to the prime minister for weekly offs and daytime saving while a request had been made to Yousuf Raza Gilani to call the annual energy summit of all federal stakeholders and chief ministers.
An official said that an earlier schedule to hold the energy summit on March 28 had been postponed because of Mr Gilani’s other engagements, including a special meeting of the cabinet likely to take place ahead of his visit to India on Wednesday.
The planning commission and ministries of water and power and finance have agreed to restrict the sale of low-quality equipment of electricity and natural gas which do not conform to the quality criteria of the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority, an official said.
He said that certification issued by the PSQCA would be mandatory for wholesalers and retailers to sell electric and gas equipment because poor quality products were resulting in energy leakages.
Likewise, these institutions made a case before the energy summit that provincial governments should start replacing existing tube-wells with energy efficient modern tube-wells. The provincial governments would be requested to share the cost of replacement with farmers.
Informed sources said that even if one-third of existing tube-wells got replaced it could help save 1,300MW a day.
In a pilot project, the federal government with the assistance of USAID replaced about 1,000 tube-wells with an aim to save 45MW of electricity. “The results have been more encouraging than anticipated. The replacement of 1,000 tube-wells has provided a saving of 65MW against a target of 45MW.”
The USAID will assist Pakistan in replacing 11,000 tube-wells. The government has estimated the replacement cost of 216,000 tube-wells at $400 million and wants this to be financed on the federal and provincial-sharing basis over a period of two years.