Energy conservation: stern measures on the cards

The Government is likely to impose excise duties on inefficient fans and bulbs, fix timings for shops, and marriage halls, encourage E-bikes, adding conical baffles in gas geysers and encourage carpooling as measures to conserve energy.

The decision was taken at a meeting of a Committee headed by the Minister of Defence, Khawaja Asif which was attended by Minister for Power, Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister for Law and other concerned officials. Minister for Defence, in his opening remark, said that the country is facing energy issues. Gas and electricity, both resources are being provided to the country on import basis and; hence, are quite expensive.

He further stated that in order to encourage energy savings, the country needs to bring cultural changes because the measures to save energy are not culturally acceptable. The matter came under discussion in the Cabinet previously but the response was discouraging and the decisions like closing the markets early were not supported even by the Cabinet members.

He further contended that the matter of energy conservation needs to be handled by the government more forcefully, and strong and meaningful awareness campaigns shall be run to sensitise the public about its significance. Besides, political parties should include energy conservation in their agenda. Public awareness shall be enhanced through advertisements which are meaningful and informative, and different channels of communications/ media shall be utilized through PEMRA.

After detailed discussions, the Committee took the following decisions: (i) utility and energy conservation through LED lights and efficient fans shall be brought to the knowledge of the consumer through advertisement and energy efficiency labelling and printing messages on packing boxes regarding saving; (ii) imposition of excise duties on inefficient fans and bulbs;(iii) procurement of energy-efficient fans plus LED/ energy-efficient equipment by public sector organisations;(iv) work from home with the ratio of 1:5 persons per week shall be adopted with the purpose of petrol saving. Timing of wedding halls may be limited to 10 pm and restaurants and hotels timings may be limited to 8 p.m. and market timing also till 8.p.m. to save electricity. In this regard provincial governments may be asked to provide/ share the data prepared by them for energy saving;(v) meetings with bulbs and fans manufacturing associations for reducing/ stopping manufacturing of inefficient bulbs and fans after July 1, 2023 and imposition of taxes; (vi) alternative switching off of streetlights; (vii) awareness campaign for energy conservation for public through media/ social media and TV, etc., especially using 10 per cent CSR quota out of commercial time; (viii) in order to save gas, conical baffles shall be added to the geysers and the new geysers to be produced with the conical baffles already placed.

The Committee recommended 2023 as the target date to replace the existing geysers with the new technology; (ix) suggestion regarding carpooling were agreed by the committee and; (x) E-bikes shall be encouraged as motorcycles account for 39 per cent of total petrol consumption as Pakistan is the world’s largest growing market of motorcycles. Ministry of Industries and Production noted that they have held meetings on this issue and gave a presentation on E-bikes.

The Committee directed NEECA to hire an advertising agency for proper awareness campaigns for multiple initiatives regarding energy conservation for the public.

The meeting also urged Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division), Ministry of Science & Technology and Ministry of Industries and Production to update their data and inputs already provided by them as measures for energy savings.

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