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05/15/2008, Pakistan - "Markets to close at 9pm under energy-saving plan", Daily Times (, by Zafar Bhutta

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Markets to close at 9pm under energy-saving plan

Water and Power minister says implementation of plan could save 500MW * Committee formed to resolve financial problems of ministry

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday announced a new conservation plan to help reduce load shedding by approving the closure of commercial centres at 9pm and moving clocks forward by one hour for the next three months.

Alongside Information Minister Sherry Rehman, Water and Power Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf told reporters that a special cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had decided to end load shedding within a year. “After one year, there will be no load shedding,” he said.

500MW: The minister said that implementing the conservation plan would save 500 megawatts of electricity. He said WAPDA would not supply any power to signboards, adding that only 50 percent of streetlights would be turned on. He said shopkeepers would also be encouraged to close their shops on Friday, instead of Sunday, to stagger electricity usage.

Ashraf said the government, with the support of the World Bank, would purchase 10 million energy saver light bulbs and install them throughout the country. He said one million bulbs would be bought initially. The minister said that no air conditioners would be used between 8am and 11am at all government offices, including the PM Secretariat.

Finances: He said a committee had been constituted to resolve the financial problems of the Water and Power Ministry, particularly regarding the Rs 207 billion owed by provinces and departments. He said a task force would check line losses.

Ashraf said the cabinet had decided to add 1,200MW of thermal power into the national grid within 12-18 months through the private sector. He said international bidders would be invited to tender offers for this purpose starting from May 20. The government also decided to use ship generators to supply 200MW to Karachi. He said holidays for industry would be staggered, adding that the government was negotiating with Iran to import 1,100MW of electricity.

Plan features
* All major markets, shopping plazas to be closed by 9pm
* Country to switch to daylight savings time from June 1
* No electricity for neon signs and signboards
* Air conditioners in all government offices, including PM Secretariat, to be turned off between 8am and 11am
* Only 50pc of street lights to be turned on to save power
* Bilawal House, Sherry’s house also facing load shedding
* Generators used by ships will be employed to provide 200MW to Karachi
* Shops to be closed on Friday, while offices closed on Sunday to stagger electricity usage
* A million international-standard energy-saver light bulbs to be installed
* Talks on with Iran to import 1,100MW of electricity
* Load shedding to be completely abolished by next year
* Task force established to control and check line losses

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05/14/2008, Pakistan - "Power crisis forces Pakistan to put clocks forward", Reuters, by Zeeshan Haider, editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan is switching to daylight saving time next month to reduce the impact of acute power shortages in the country, a cabinet minister said on Wednesday.

Electricity supplies to homes, businesses and factories across Pakistan have been cut for several hours a day over the past few months as the country grapples with a 4,000 MW power deficit.

The situation is likely to worsen as summer intensifies, when air conditioners are switched on full blast.

The government has decided that clocks would be moved forward an hour, to GMT+6, on June 1 to ensure maximum use of daylight, Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said.

"All this is being done to combat this menace of load-shedding," he told a news conference using a term that refers to managed power cuts.

Ashraf said markets and shops would be closed by 9.p.m. for three months through August to reduce power consumption.

He said the new government, which assumed office last month, was preparing plans to increase power generation capacity and hoped that load-shedding would be overcome in the next three years.

There was no capacity added in Pakistan since President Pervez Musharraf came to power in a coup in 1999.

Pakistan tried moving to daylight saving time in 2002, but later abandoned it as many people, particularly those living in rural areas, ignored the switch.

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