Wednesday, 17 August, 2022

Energy austerity a must

Energy austerity a must

Load-shedding has returned! While city dwellers are experiencing a couple of hours of power outage daily, the situation in suburban and village areas are dire with 10-16 hours of blackout daily in some parts of the country. This sudden return of the scourge of load-shedding may seem perplexing considering the government’s remarkable success in power generation. But this is actually happening because of the government’s fuel frugality in the face of skyrocketing hike in energy prices in the international market.

Apparently, the government went for this measure considering the huge amount of subsidy it has to provide in importing fuel oil and LNG which are essential for generating electricity. Besides, as the import cost increased sharply because of energy price hike in the international market, increase in shipping charge and increase in US dollar exchange rate, the country’s forex reserve has been dwindling fast in the last couple of months. Therefore, some immediate measures were urgently needed to prop up the reserve.

The government has already implemented a decision to close shopping malls after 8pm, and some other energy-saving austerity measures like curb on gas import, gas rationing in industries, less electricity supply to households etc. The government has also appealed to the people to exercise austerity in gas and power usage. There seems to be no other way except being frugal in energy consumption considering the current global turmoil and looming global economic recession.

But we think the government should implement a systematic area based fixed hours of power outage, instead of current erratic power cuts. If the people are warned of a certain hour of power cuts, it becomes a lot easier for them to manage. Besides, over ten hours of load-shedding in rural areas is simply beyond the people’s tolerable limit. Irrigation of agricultural fields and cold storages where crops are preserved are also being badly affected due to prolonged power cuts. Most of the energy austerity measures make sense and are easily manageable, but it must be implemented in a way that agricultural and industrial production does not get hampered.