Stories about electricity

Earth Day: Five small steps to a billion acts of green

Today is the 41st anniversary of the Earth Day. This year’s theme is “A billion acts of green” and the goal is to generate a billion acts of environmental service and advocacy before the global Earth Summit 2012 in Rio. We can all contribute to a greener earth by doing at least one act of conservation in order to make those “billion acts of green” possible. 1. Recycle Start by recycling at home. We could encourage our kids to re-use old cans, tins and cardboard boxes to make useful things at home, like jewelry boxes and bookmarks. We can also reuse jam jars ...

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Typing with frozen hands in Gilgit-Baltistan

To be a journalist in Gilgit-Baltistan, one requires extraordinary patience not because of the many security threats in the region, but also because of the unfavorable working conditions, especially in winter. Access to information is not a challenge in Gilgit. It can be gathered under all circumstances ­ be it times of peace or turbulence ­ provided one has sufficient sources willing to cooperate. In fact, the G-B Supreme Court had recently ruled that access to official information is the right of a journalist, making it easier for journalists. As far as the threats are concerned, a journalist working for an ...

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The untapped power potential of AJK

On a recent visit to my hometown Chakothi in Azad Kashmir, I felt disconnected from the rest of the world due to the perpetual darkness I endured for two days. Azad Kashmir is said to have an enormous potential for producing hydropower – up to 17,000 megawatts. The state continues to witness many rulers making tall claims about developing it up to the standards of Dubai or Paris – something that does not seem like a hard task given AJK’s relatively small size in terms of population (3.2 million). Azad Kashmir consumes around 300 to 400 megawatts of power only, making ...

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KESC sacking: Wrong time for the right decision

The weakening economy is impacting every sector and one of the worst hit seems to be the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC). The company was already a victim of corruption and a house to ‘ghost employees’ when General Musharraf privatised the utility company in an attempt to provide an uninterrupted supply of electricity to the city. The new, improved KESC fulfilled its promise.  The new organization was restructured on revolutionary lines. Initiatives against electricity theft were introduced and load shedding hours were reduced to as little as 3 hours (compared with more than 10 hours). KESC took all necessary measures to ...

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Qingqis: What Karachi and Paris don’t have in common

Earlier this week government officials in Paris announced plans to ban Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and diesel fueled vehicles from entering the city centre. The move reminds me of an attempt to introduce CNG buses in Karachi. This was perhaps one of the first times that Pakistan made a serious move to address the increasing threat of urban congestion. However, CNG itself is a natural resource and should be preserved otherwise the whole world will be working on NGVs (Natural Gas Vehicles) instead of EVs (Electric Vehicles). As far as environment friendly transport goes ‘qingqis’ small electric vehicles, are the ideal mode ...

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Electric Avenue: Sky high bills getting higher

What I pay for electricity of my apartment is almost half the rent itself. There is only one room, with a fan and two tube-lights, other than that I only have a laptop, a toaster, a microwave oven and a 0.75-ton split air-conditioner. As if the price of electricity is not high enough, donor agencies usually demand that the government address inter-corporate debt which has grown to Rs426 billion. And no matter how much money the government tries to inject into the system to get it running again, making it sustainable will require huge increases in electricity prices as well as ...

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Bye bye Walkman?

Leading British newspapers have announced the death of cultural symbols born of technology, that signal values of an era obsolete as if saying goodbye to dear friends. Nostalgia plays a huge part in this, for both the British and American cultures often find themselves mourning for times bygone. The current obsession with the show Mad Men in every sphere including fashion has, for example, been described in this way. One such an announcement was made on the front pages of almost all the major publications recently, one variation read: “Walkman RIP, farewell to a cultural icon.” Sony, a Japanese company, has made the ...

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Floating disaster for the power sector

Disasters often bring opportunities and this adage is true for Pakistan. Federal Minister for Power Raja Pervez Ashraf, (also referred to as Raja Rental by fellow parliamentarians from the “friendly” opposition) inaugurated at Karachi what is said to be world’s largest ship-mounted rental power plant. The power plant is to produce around 225 MW of electricity at the escalating astronomical cost starting from 20 cents per unit. In his speech, Ashraf mentioned a few things which are worth sharing; he admitted that electricity provided through this power plant will be expensive though he generously enlightened the audience by mentioning that it is a gift ...

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KESC misdeeds and the abuse of power

It was 6 pm and I had just entered my home after a long, hectic day at the office, when the bell rang and a very efficient looking KESC team for the Defence area came in, claiming that according to Section 20 of the Electric Act 1910, they were required to carry out an inspection of the electricity metre. As per the rules, our meter is installed outside the house, where I took the team so that they could carry out the inspection. As one of them inspected the electricity metre thoroughly, he found no fault in its operation. Then ...

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Power crisis: The road to impending doom

The nation faces a severe power crisis yet again, not entirely unanticipated, as summers draw to their summit. Because of the frequent outages and prolonged load shedding hours, the masses are already on the streets, violently recording their protest. The disruption has also adversely affected commercial activity and industrial production all around the nation and the losses have accumulated to deteriorate national economic indexes. The governmental policy of two-day weekends and the 8pm shutter down have not fared well as the masses continue to express their anger against such short-term measures. It has also pushed ground-level commercial actors, the shopkeepers, ...

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