Power breakdown yet again

The latest near-countrywide power breakdown happened at exactly the same place where multiple such events have already occurred over the years.

The point at the Guddu thermal power station is a crucial junction in the national grid, from where transmission lines go out in three directions, towards the south, north and west in the direction of Quetta.

The region itself is a desert, with hot and humid temperatures in the summers and prone to powerful gusts of wind. Both these weather-related features have been blamed for large-scale power breakdowns in the past.

This time it is not clear what the precise cause of the breakdown was, nor does it really matter to most of the country. Keeping a power grid operational in adverse conditions has its challenges, but it is certainly not rocket science.

Basic common sense tells us that a significant role needs to be played by power-sector professionals. Yet that is precisely what is lacking in Pakistan. The last professional who occupied an important position in the power sector was Fiaz Chaudhry, the managing director of the National Transmission and Despatch Company. He was pushed out unceremoniously because, being a professional, he had fallen afoul of the factional politics that the power bureaucracy is full of.

Published in Dawn, 18th May, 2018