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UPS may worsen power crisis in Pakistan

By Issam Ahmed

LAHORE, May 12: Skyrocketing sale of Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Units could have the unintended consequence of exacerbating the energy crisis from medium to long term, an expert has warned.

Speaking to Dawn, Dr Arshad Husain, director of the FAST National University, and an electrical engineer by training, said: “As the sale of these units continue to rise, an extra burden will have to be borne by the power-suppliers. That is just common sense,” adding that UPS units, which might typically power two-ceiling fans and two light bulbs or ‘energy savers’ during loadshedding, do not generate any energy of their own.

Dr Husain, who gained his doctorate in electrical engineering at the University of Washington, said: “Under the present conditions, a typical 1,000 Watt UPS unit consumes less and less load the more it charges itself. Nevertheless, each household that adds a UPS unit also consumes extra energy to pay for it.”

Terming the addition of a UPS unit to a home roughly equivalent to an extra refrigerator in terms of power use, he stated that if 30 per cent of houses ran a UPS unit each throughout the year, there would be a “small but significant” increase in the load to Wapda by three per cent. Similarly, if 50 per cent of households bought a UPS – a distant prospect at present owing to the socio-economic makeup of the city – the increase in load would be five per cent.

While no reliable data exists on the current number of households with UPS units, the dealers reportedly mention this year’s sale jumping to as high as 40 per cent. One UPS dealer said his company was supplying 100 batteries a month, while prices of units had risen up to Rs10,000, up from Rs5,000 last year.

Dr Husain, however, said in the short term, users could conserve energy by common-sense means such as turning off light bulbs and electronic devices. He said a household’s most power-hungry units were air-conditioners, electric heaters and electric motors used to pump water.

Courtesy: Daily Dawn

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