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Monday, November 11, 2013

Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister inherits $5 billion in energy debt

Now that the election in Pakistan is finally finished, Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif can begin to tackle the nation’s dismal energy situation. Just in time, too – with summer approaching, the country is heating up to temperatures as high as 50C, or 122F. Talk about sweltering! As a result, Pakistanis are cranking their air conditioners up, creating sweeping power outages and adding to an already staggering debt.

The power outages have ignited protests across Pakistan. In some areas, blackouts last as long as 18 hours a day! Last summer, the country’s power deficit hit 6,000 megawatts during high-demand periods. Not an easy fix for the new Prime Minister.

According to Zafar Iqbal Sobani, former chief executive officer of Hub Power, Pakistan’s second-largest power supplier, “Sharif’s Muslim League won the election because the previous government failed to deliver on the energy front.”

Pakistan’s power plants have the ability to produce approximately 14,500 megawatts a day, which could satisfy the country’s demand, if only they could afford the cost of the foreign oil and gas they need to burn.

Even when the lights are on, companies like Hub Power are struggling to collect on their customers’ debts. The country’s overall energy sector is burdened with $5 billion in outstanding debt. Delayed payment to foreign fuel suppliers, not to mention theft by people tapping into the power lines illegally, threaten to collapse the entire system.

Rolling blackouts have bogged down Pakistan’s $210 billion economy, cutting two percentage points off growth each fiscal year. The textile industry, which accounts for 54% of the country’s overall exports and employs 38% of the ‘blue-collar’ labor force, has been hit the hardest. Nawaz Sharif has been quoted telling party supporters that the energy crisis “has made the people miserable.”

Imagine if Pakistan’s textile factories could run on clean, low-cost electricity without the support of a third-party energy supplier. Well, NRGLab did, and what resulted was the SH-Box.

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[ ana shell, Nawaz Sharif, energy sector, energy, Prime Minister Pakistan, nrglab сингапур, pakistan, sh-box, Zafar Iqbal Sobani, nrglab ]

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