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PR Short Notes


Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 497, 4 January 2023

Government approves the National Energy Conservation Plan



What did the plan say, the steps for implementing and the public’s reaction

Joel Jacob

On 3 January, the Federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the advice of the power division approved the National Energy Conservation Plan and introduced measures to ensure the judicious utilization of national resources including early closure of markets and restaurants and stopping unnecessary use of electric appliances in all government offices. The government said that the plan would save hundreds of billions of rupees. Defence Minister Khwaja Asif said that energy-saving reforms were being introduced for the people to change their habits to conserve energy and that the business community and the government have agreed to the initiative.

What did the plan say?                                                    
According to the energy conservation plan, restaurants, hotels, and markets would close by 8:30 pm, while wedding halls would close by 10 pm. The incandescent light bulb production and inefficient electricity fans would also be stopped. The government has also planned to levy additional duties on inefficient electric fans. The government said that the plan would save early PKR 62 billion and that the plan of action was coordinated with the trade associations in the country.

What are the steps of implementation?
 The energy conversation plan induced a reduction of 30 per cent in electricity consumption would be initiated at all the institutes of the federal government adding that they would use energy-saving devices. The normal fans will be replaced by energy-saving fans which are available in the market. Streetlight usage will be monitored up to 50 per cent in order to control electricity. The minister said that reforms were underway in housing societies’ by-laws and building codes to ensure energy-efficient infrastructure. Awareness campaigns regarding energy saving will be launched through print, electronic and social media. People are asked to take work from home which will also reduce pollution. Nepra has conducted one public hearing regarding solarization and Pemra would ensure energy-saving campaigns through private TV channels and radio channels.

How did the public react?
The majority of the traders and the business community did not abide by the plans of energy conservation stating profitability reasons. Trader’s spokesperson said the early closing down would incur losses on poor traders and masses who were barely managing to survive. They called out the government officials as their residences and streets are lightened throughout the night and the decision of closing will be stopped forcefully. According to the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the estimate of PKR 62 billion in saving doesn’t fit into practical terms. The president claimed that early closure of markets and marriage halls was unlikely to save such a large amount, and would rather harm businesses and trade activities. Instead, he said that traders were ready to close the markets from 9-10 pm and marriage halls from 11-12 am. All Karachi Retail Grocers Association said closing down shops by 5-6 pm was a ‘worldwide practice’ and supported the federal government’s plan.

References:
Syed Irfan Raza, “Govt unveils ‘early to bed, early to rise’ policy,” Dawn, 4 January 2023
Shahid Shah, “Energy Conservation Plan: Traders reject early market closure plan,” The News International, 4 January 2023
Markets to close by 8:30pm, wedding halls by 10pm as govt approves energy conservation plan,” Dawn, 4 January 2023

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