LAHORE - The implementation on the proposed plan for early closure of commercial markets seems to be difficult, as the traders’ leaders have rejected the government’s plan to conserve energy by shutting down markets early during summers, particularly in Ramadan, saying the move had never been successful in the past.

The Ministry of Water and Power has asked the provincial governments to ensure the closures of commercial markets by 8 pm to save the electricity.

All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran President Khalid Pervez has observed that advisor and bureaucrats of the ministry were misguiding the Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif by giving inaccurate data about power consumption.

He has urged the government to take real stakeholders onboard in the decision-making process.

Referring to instructions to the shopkeepers to pull down shutters at 8pm sharp, he said that people hardly got out of their homes before evening. “Therefore, they need time to draw up their shopping plan,” he added.

Pervez further said that the government should focus on other modes for conserving energy instead of reducing business hours.

Terming the government’s plan impracticable, he threatened to adopt all possible ways of protest against it.

He also said the plan discriminated against retailers of Punjab, saying no such policy was implemented in the past in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

He said the government had not made it clear whether the plan would also be enforced on medical stores and children play lands.

“Contacts are being made with traders’ representatives across the country to convene a meeting for taking a joint line of action against the unjust step” he disclosed.

PML-N Traders Wing General Secretary Shahid Nazir said that traders were ready to switch off signboards, billboards and other such devices powered by electricity at 8pm sharp.

He, however, suggested that electricity pilferages and line losses should be controlled and added that building new dams was not a bad idea.

Former Pepco MD Tahir Basharat Cheema observed the issue of energy security needed to be mainstreamed in the national narrative.

“We have already suffered an irreparable loss over the last many years for our failure to develop a national consensus on this critical issue.” he said, adding, “The provincial and the federal government are well advised to agree on the most efficient mean for power generation. Unless we agree among ourselves about the proper utilisation of available hydel, coal and gas resources in the larger national interests, we will not be able to overcome the energy shortage, which has become an impediment in the revival of our economy.”

Energy experts opine that former policymakers merely paid lip service and insert nothing in their policies to utilise the indigenous resources for power generation. It is important that any future incentive for investment in the power sector should be restricted to schemes based on such indigenous resources, which are in abundant like coal, wind, water and solar resources.

Apart from the expensive generation mix, another major reason for soaring electricity costs has been the excessive losses in the transmission and distribution system.