The government’s bold promises about fixing the sudden electricity shortage have not materialised into anything tangible as of yet. The heart of the problem is supply; there is not enough energy being produced for the national grid and the yearly increased demand that comes about with the rise in temperatures. With daily demand at 26700MW with a supply of less than 19500MW, it is clear why rural areas are facing up to 18 hours without power while urban centres see as much as 10 hours of loadshedding.

The issue lies with natural gas-fired, coal-based and furnace oil-run thermal plants; many are just not producing at capacity and some have outright stopped generating electricity due to the shortages and costs. Beyond this, the current generation from hydroelectric stands at half of what it is during peak production—out of a total generation capacity of 9000MW, hydropower is only contributing 4200MW to the national grid.

The Finance Minister acknowledged the government’s inability to fill this glaring gap in our power needs, but also worryingly stated that the government would need more time to resolve it. But with summer at its peak and heatwaves a common occurrence, this is exactly when the need for reliable power becomes all the more urgent.

In matters of business, there is near unanimous agreement on the fact that we need to start moving towards import substitution in the medium- to long-term, but none of this is possible if our factories cannot produce due to a shortage of energy.

Even for its own political considerations, it is not a good look for the new coalition government to be unable to resolve a supply issue when they themselves have often identified the solution; provide fuel to power generation plants. This must be resolved urgently.