National Information Technology Board (NITB) of Pakistan on Friday tweeted a message stating that telecom operations in Pakistan have warned about shutting down mobile and internet services. The reason for shutting down, according to the tweet, is the continuing power outage in the Asian country.
As the power outages are being more and more regular, telecom companies are finding it difficult to operate properly and thus issued a warning stating they would have to shut down all services.
Even though the aforementioned tweet from NITB was re, moved later, the issue has caught international attention.
With the average temperature soaring up and an increase in the number of heat waves, citizens of Pakistan have been suffering for weeks now from the power outages. In many instances, the power outage can even go on for 12 to 14 hours every day.
The Pakistan government has been trying to make up for the deficiency in power by importing fuel from West Asian nations at cheaper prices.
A few days ago, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif said that the power outages are going to increase by July.
What led to this situation?
Pakistan usually meets its energy needs by importing natural resources such as petroleum and liquified natural gas from abroad.
Due to the global supply shock and impacts of international events, oil prices jumped to historic high prices. This led to an increase in payments being made by Pakistan using foreign exchange. All of this led to inflation in the country.
Rising oil process in the international market coupled with the strengthening of the dollar resulted in an increase in the cost of producing electricity in Pakistan. As the companies were not ready to suffer huge losses, they also began to step back on production.
Significant low foreign exchange of the country also meant that government could not buy enough fuel to run the power generators a full swing.
As of now, Pakistan requires 26,000 MW of electricity while the production is only 22000 MW. Even though In official numbers, the shortfall is 4000 MW, some media reports suggest that the actual shortfall is 7,800 MW.
Presently, Pakistan is trying to make up for the power shortage by forcing power cuts in several cities and rural areas. This move has affected civilians living in both rural and urban areas.
Earlier, the Pak premier had openly stated the fact that Pakistan doesn’t have enough money to buy necessary resources.
The government has also banned wedding functions after a specific time. Markets, Malls and similar stores have been ordered to restrict working timings to reduce electricity consumption.
The government is also expecting to reduce power usage in public offices by at least 10% in the coming weeks.