23 Apr 2010

Energy policy announced in wake of Pakistan power crisis

6:05 am on 23 April 2010

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan has launched a national energy policy to tackle a massive power crisis.

Measures include extending the official weekend from one to two days, early closure of street markets and a 50% cut in power to government offices.

The BBC reports Pakistan's energy crisis is due to a surge in demand and a failing power distribution infrastructure.

Shortages have crippled industry and led to rioting across the country.

Electricity supplies to homes and businesses are often cut for several hours a day.

According to government sources, Pakistan's energy shortfall comes to around 3,668 megawatts (MW) per day. Officials hope the new measures will save 1,500 MW a day.

Mr Gilani also said the government would pay 116 billion rupees ($US1.38 billion) to the sector to help resolve debts to various power producers.