What are the main causes of the energy crisis in Pakistan? What measures do you suggest to address it?

What are the main causes of the energy crisis in Pakistan? What measures do you suggest to address it?

Solved by Mutahar Iftikhar

CSS Solved Pakistan Affairs Past Paper 2020 and 2019 | What are the main causes of the energy crisis in Pakistan? What measures do you suggest to address it? CSS 2020, CSS 2019

Question’s Breakdown:

The examiner has divided the question into two parts, so you must give relevant weightage to each part. You must provide a brief account of the energy crisis in Pakistan after introducing the subject matter. Then, elaborate prominent causes of the problem one by one and give corresponding suggestions to fix the trouble. Hereafter, you must incorporate your critical analysis before ending the question through a brief conclusion, simultaneously maintaining the coherence and relevance to the subject matter. 

The answer is solved on the given pattern, which Sir Syed Kazim Ali teaches to his students, who consistently score the maximum because of their attempting the questions. The content is based on historical facts taught by Sir Rameez Ch.


1- Introduction:

Pakistan faces a major socio-economic predicament due to the lingering energy crisis because of inept policies, widening demand-supply gap, and ineffective energy management. To fix the issue, bridging the supply-demand gap, finding new methods to produce cheap, affordable electricity, and introducing pragmatic policies are a must.

2- Current scenario:

  • Unscheduled domestic and industrial load-shedding
  • Transmission and distribution losses Up to 45% 
  • Highest consumer tariffs 
  • An overall decline in exports

3- What are the leading causes of the energy crisis in Pakistan? 

  • Continuously widening supply-demand gap
  • Costly generation of electricity
  • Inefficient power transmission and distribution system
  • A sudden mount of subsidies and circular debts

4- How to overcome the energy crisis?

  • To bridge the supply-demand gap
  • To produce cheap and affordable electricity
  • To decrease transmission and distribution losses
  • To make bill recovery mechanisms efficient
  • To improve governance to implement the endorsed policies

5- Critical Analysis:

6- Conclusion:

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Answer to the Question


Energy shortfall in Pakistan lies at the roots of the severe socio-economic crisis the country faces today, impacting every walk of life. The Burgeoning demand for energy results in a yawning supply-demand gap, electricity generation at unaffordable rates, and poor transmission and distribution systems in place have left the country reeling for energy. Despite imposing the highest tariffs per unit, Pakistan is still facing a 30% power deficit, which is expected to increase eightfold until 2030, if not considered seriously. However, the country can meet its current and future power needs by considerable investments in the power sector, ensuring inexpensive production and efficient distribution. Moreover, improving governance through structural reforms can significantly impact the future energy prospects in the country. This answer reviews the leading causes of the energy crisis and recommends measures to meet the challenge.  

Currently, the energy crisis is at the helm of all the socio-economic problems facing by Pakistan. The country is finding it hard to cope with increased energy demand. There are 7-8 hours of load shedding in homes and 1-2 hours in industries, impacting the lifestyle and industrial output. The situation is exacerbated by inefficient transmission and distribution methods causing up to 45% electricity losses. Additionally, nearly 70% of electricity is produced using imported furnace oil and gas; thus, Pakistan has the highest consumer tariffs per unit in the region. A detailed review of the most prominent factors behind the energy crisis in Pakistan is essential for understanding the issue. 

First, Pakistan’s energy demands have increased four times since the turn of the millennium; whereas, the energy supply has remained stagnant. There is a 4,000 to 4,500 MW demand-supply gap that further increases during summer. Since 2000, when the country was producing more energy than it needed, Pakistan has been unable to implement any national energy policy and, hence, failed to construct any significant powerplant capable of meeting its needs. The energy crisis results from constant political neglect, underestimation of the worsening situation and non-implementation of the endorsed policies. Consequently, the continuously widening supply-demand gap has emerged as the significant predicament of Pakistan’s energy sector. 

Second, the major chunk of electricity produced in Pakistan is from gas and furnace oil, and the rising prices of oil and gas have made the country impose the highest tariffs on its consumers. The choice of methods for electricity production has made it unaffordable for domestic as well as industrial consumers. The gradual shift away from hydel power towards oil and gas with poor future cost estimation is behind the current energy crisis in Pakistan. Moreover, the share of coal and renewable methods of electricity production combined is less than 1%, ironically. If Pakistan is to fix the issue, it needs to invest in sustainable methods to produce economical, affordable electricity.

Next to them, another noticeable factor contributing towards worsening the energy crisis in Pakistan is considerable transmission and distribution loss. The use of outdated methods and technology is responsible for sizeable transmission losses; besides, 45% of total electricity is being stolen throughout the country due to old monitoring and billing methods. That means the other 55% must bear the burden of the losses in the shape of increased tariffs and taxes, pushing the prices higher. Thus, the current setup, which is unsustainable, needs to adopt modern technologies to monitor and reduce losses. To replace an outdated system with the new one requires considerable investment in the power sector.

Finally, all the aspects mentioned above contributing towards debilitating energy crisis compound to make the energy sector unsustainable in economic terms, hence, demanding government subsidies and debts to keep it afloat. Consequently, the subsidies and circular debt have become a constant feature of the power sector, putting noteworthy pressure on the public exchequer. Besides, it leaves little to invest in the development of the power sector. It can no longer go on like this because of unjustifiable subsidies and unmaintainable debts. Hence, only through finding new methods of balancing books, Pakistan can come out of the crisis.

How to overcome the energy crisis?

Keeping in view all the above antecedents for the widening energy crisis in Pakistan, the following suggestions, if implemented rigorously, can bring the country out from the malice of the energy crisis. First, bridging the supply-demand gap by constructing new power plants according to the future estimation of the country’s needs is indispensable. Next to it, a significant shift away from the current expensive oil and gas power plants towards cheap and renewable methods is the need of the hour. The options for cheap electricity, nuclear and coal power plants, are worth exploring. There is a dire need to update transmission and distribution lines and adopt new energy sector monitoring methods. Moreover, by reducing losses and improving bill collection methods, the energy crisis can be softened. Last but not least, the implementation of national energy policies and plans is a must to meet the burgeoning future demand, which is expected to increase eight times till 2030 and twenty times until 2050.

Critical Analysis:

Nothing deprives a country of its socio-economic future like the way the energy crisis does. As energy is considered the jugular vein of progressing society, it is crucial for progress and development. For the past two decades, Pakistan is facing an energy crisis that has derailed its economy and wreaked havoc across the country. That makes international investors reluctant to invest in the country, leaving unemployment, inflation, and poverty prevail. As a result, the country remains unable to stand on its feet.


Declining living standards, ebbing industrial output, enhancing unemployment, and rising poverty are some of the devastating impacts of the energy crisis; Which is caused by the widening supply-demand gap, costly generation methods, outdated setup, and derelict policies. It has robbed millions of the bright future and placed the country’s economy in the doldrums. The energy crisis is constraining the country growth and development. Henceforth, it is crucial to meet the increasing hunger for energy; that-in turn- stimulates growth and development and satisfies the masses. To fix the issue, bridging the supply-demand gap, finding new methods to produce cheap, affordable electricity, and introducing practical policies are a must.

About Mutahar Iftikhar

Mutahar Iftikhar, a proud student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali, writes on a range of topics pertaining to competitive examinations and has also completed his creative writing course from Howfiv.

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