Pakistan advances clock to conserve energy

May 15th, 2008 - 12:22 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, May 15 (IANS) Facing a huge energy deficit, Pakistan has drawn up a comprehensive plan for conserving power by advancing clocks by an hour and ordering markets to close by 9 p.m. from June 1. The adjustment in the Pakistan Standard Time (PST) would take it six hours ahead of GMT. Henceforth, sunrise in Islamabad will be at 6 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. and sunset at 8 p.m.

Pakistan, which faces an energy shortfall of 4,000 MW, has twice before attempted to introduce daylight saving time but has failed on both occasions, Dawn reported Thursday.

At a special meeting on the energy crisis held here Wednesday, the federal cabinet decided to call for international bids for generating 1,200 MW of electricity on a fast-track basis.

The country’s industrial zones will now observe off days on a rotation basis and air-conditioners in all government offices will be switched off between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Half of the street lights will remain switched off during the next three months.

The government will also import 10 million energy-saving bulbs.

The power crisis has been caused by a 50 percent (2,500 MW) reduction in hydro power generation because of falling river water levels due to the slower melting of snow, Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

The minister said the tendering process for power generation normally took at least three years but the government had decided to accomplish the task within a year and a half.

“If this energy generation and conservation plan is accomplished we will be able to get rid of load shedding by the end of 2009,” he said.

According to the minister, a barge-based power plant would be imported to meet the needs of the commercial capital Karachi and the 1,200 MW being consumed by the southern port town would be diverted to other cities.

“We need to take tough decisions for power conservation,” Ashraf said.

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