Hazards Of Alternate Power Solutions Like UPS and Generators
With the onset of summer people are not only anticipate harsher heat but also of power outages. They also are greatly worried about the rampaging inflation that has taken the prices of alternate power solutions out of their grip depriving them of chances of relief during sweltering summer months.
The primary reason for the escalating prices of alternate power instruments is the official decision to curb imports of raw material and finished goods to control the current account deficit. This decision has a direct impact not only on the availability of alternate power providers but has also resulted in extremely high prices, an increase that is also due to the fast-receding value of rupee.
Since the last decade and a half Pakistanis have started to use two major alternate power solutions for residential consumers and they are generators and UPS powered by batteries, both witnessing significant price hikes.
Pakistanis are relentlessly subject to lengthy power cuts that are mostly unscheduled that makes life miserable in harrowingly hot weather. The most problematic aspect of this issue is the abject inability of the official authorities to do anything about it particularly in wake of a grave fuel shortage along with years of mismanagement of the power sector.
The consequences are borne by the hapless people of the country who have started to suffer enormously particularly during the night when they have nowhere to go. To exacerbate the situation is fuel cost that rules out the use of generators for those who possess them and UPS systems are unable to be fully recharged. Water supply is also curtailed due to the power cuts.
The general complaint is that the prices of alternate power solutions have skyrocketed to more than one hundred per cent since the PDM government is in power. It is also complained that the lack of government oversight on the manufacturers is instrumental as they are jacking up the prices on various pretexts.
It is pointed out that the government should check whether the prices are being raised for genuine reasons or not. People mention that the current situation is bad news for consumers planning to buy such items as their prices have gone out of their reach.
Power generators and Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) units have become very dear and their pieces are escalating by the day. Many experts point out that generally people consider UPS as the ultimate solution to power shortage yet they are not informed that the UPS installed in homes consume as much electricity as heavy-duty electrical appliances and the resultant high electricity bill could be as much a shock as the health hazards the UPS units pose. A UPS can consume as much electricity as a ton or ton-and-a-half air conditioner and it is described this most popular alternative to load-shedding as one that costs people more than they could save.
In this context it is mentioned that that in four to five hours charging time, a UPS could easily consume 700 to 800 Watts of electricity making the electric meter spin even faster. This clearly implies that installing UPS units and generators offset the very idea of load-shedding and reducing consumption of fuels.
It is variously pointed out that people need to understand that we have load-shedding to meet the power shortfall. Since the UPS is charged from the same system it ends up overburdening it. It is also mentioned that markets are flooded with substandard UPS and second hand generators that are imported in bulk. Even worse are the locally manufactured UPS units that come without safety devices/instructions and energy-saving components. There is no performance criterion and people buy whatever their hick electricians recommend.
Environmentalists point out that that there are no noise or emission standards drawn on installation of generators and the smell of fuel burning inside is another nuisance. From small generators in galleries or sidewalks installed at different markets and in the houses to giant generators outside offices, the noise is unbearable and so is the smell of petrol and diesel during power outages and it becomes difficult to even breathe. If people thought UPS was heavy on their pockets, the cost on health of installing UPS attached with lead batteries in TV lounges and corridors, behind sofas and TV trolleys was far greater than anyone could imagine.
It is estimated that about 60 to 70 per cent people have UPS in their homes without being informed that they destroys indoor air quality because the acid inside the lead battery gives off vapours and fumes that collect in one place which can cause serious health concerns. The plates inside a lead battery boil the heavy water that then produces hydrogen and other poisonous gases and young children are most vulnerable because they tend to suck their fingers or objects that might be contaminated with dust and because their growing bodies absorbed lead readily. Young children absorbed up to 50 per cent of lead that was taken into their body, compared to ten to 15 per cent in adults.