PRIME Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday decided to carry out restructuring and capacity building of the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (NEECA). Chairing a meeting on the issue of promoting energy conservation, he formed an inter-ministerial committee under the leadership of former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for important reforms in the energy efficiency authority.
Both the previous government of PML(N) and the incumbent coalition government have been focusing on increasing the electricity generation capacity of the country and they succeeded in this mission but the nation is unable to reap the benefits mainly because of a host of challenges confronting the energy sector including the ever-rising circular debt, increasing cost of input, line losses, rampant theft, dilapidated transmission and distribution networks, inefficient transformers and old-fashioned appliances and electronic/electrical devices consuming unnecessary energy. Wasteful use of energy can be reduced through efficient technologies as well as behavioural changes by all types of consumers.
NEECA was notified in 2017, its first board meeting was held the next year and it got its regular head in 2019 and this speaks volumes about the lethargic working of important institutions in the country. However, the authority timely launched a three year strategic plan (2020-23) aimed at achieving 3 MTOE energy saving by 2023 but it could not be implemented due to lack of interest on the part of decision-makers.
Therefore, the Prime Minister has done well by assigning the task of revival of the authority to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who has necessary background of the energy sector and also has the vision on how to go forward. The Prime Minister has also desired preparation of an energy conservation policy and apart from this priority should be given to implementation of the strategic plan on war-footings. In a country like Pakistan where governance is typically weak, it would be a difficult task to ensure preparation and faithful implementation of energy standards for different sectors and industries but this has to be done if we are genuinely interested in conserving energy.