Note: You can also view the annotated Youtube video here.
Also, check out Express Tribune's coverage of our seminar here.
Hi. We are the Karachi Energy Conservation Awareness Group. We include one aerospace engineer from MIT, one environmental engineer from ETH (Switzerland) and one computer scientist with an MBA from Columbia University.
Pakistan’s severe electricity shortage is responsible for the loss of at least 2 percentage points of GDP growth per year. Already facing the debilitating effects of one major earthquake in 2005(70,000 killed, 1 million homeless), severe flooding in 2010 (20 million affected) and in 2011 (4 million affected), as well as the war with Taliban in the North West of the country (40,000 civilians & 5000 soldiers killed, 3.4 million homeless), the GDP growth of Pakistan has tumbled from an average of 7% from 2003-2007 to barely 3% per year, pushing over 30 million people back into poverty.
As the Government struggles to bring new power projects online, the immediate solution to the problem is energy conservation. Most domestic and commercial customers are grossly inefficient. With basic energy conservation awareness, many of these consumers could reduce electricity usage by 50%. The conserved electricity could run our factories 24/7 and allow the poor to work in the evenings and their children to study.
Our plan is very simple. We will go to those people who have the maximum impact on energy use, the middle and upper classes, and teach them basic energy conservation. Our course will show them how easy it is to reduce their energy use, and resultant bills, without sacrificing any amount of comfort.
For more details about our plan, scroll down to the FAQ.
What We Need
During Phase 1, we need $50,000 to set up the branch office in Karachi. Our founder will devote 50% of her time to this project, and we will also hire several lecturers to launch the awareness campaign.
Phase 2 of the campaign will begin in Summer 2013, as we expand our Karachi Team. We will need an additional $100,000 at that point in time. We will raise that through a combination of grants and by appealing to private donors. We may also return to Indiegogo once more to appeal to your generosity.
If through this combination of grants we are assured of raising $250,000, we could expand our project to Lahore by Fall 2013.
What You Get
In addition to our deep gratitude, and the knowledge that you are making a difference, you will also receive the perks listed on the right, if you sign up for them. The perks will be distributed once the campaign ends on Indiegogo.
Other Ways You Can Help
Please tell your friends and family about our campaign. Indiegogo has provided some very simple share tools on this page, so please take a minute to click & share.
How severe is the power shortage?
Currently, 38% of the population has no access to electricity, i.e. is not connected to the grid. The supply of electricity, on the other hand, to those that do have access to the national grid is short by 5GW compared to the demand. In some cities and neighborhoods, there is no electricity 50% of the time. I have heard dozens of first-hand accounts of people whose income has been severely restricted by the unreliable supply of electricity. Many of the poor in my neighborhood talk of brothers and husbands who go to factories to work, and then get paid only for the hours that electricity was available for production. Families, which had worked hard and were on the verge of breaking into middle class, are now being pushed back into poverty.
What is your strategy for this awareness campaign?
We have a 2-tiered strategy:
1) We will educate the women of the middle and upper classes in energy conservation, by holding 2-hour seminars over tea at an individual’s home. Each seminar will cater to 10-20 women of that neighborhood. We need your funds to support this investment of our time.
2) We will approach businesses to hold the energy conservation seminars on their premises in order to educate their employees. These seminars can cater to up to 40 employees per session. We will ask the businesses to pay for these seminars through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.
How will you choose which households to hold the seminar in?
We will first approach the hundreds of women already in our network of family and friends. We will convince them to hold the tea seminars at their homes, and to invite the women in their neighborhood and family to attend. As we get introduced to more women at these seminars, our network will expand, and we will easily find more houses that are willing to host our seminars.
Aren’t you limiting your audience by holding these face-to-face seminars? Wouldn’t you reach more people by holding a webinar, or putting a video on the internet?
There is already a lot of information on the internet about conserving energy. The fact remains that this information is only useful for those people who already wish to conserve energy and actively look for help. This is not useful for people who are indifferent to energy conservation.
We believe that most people, especially in Pakistan, have very little knowledge of energy conservation, and need to be actively approached to raise awareness. Many people also believe that energy conservation will take up their time or reduce their comfort levels. We want to change this perception. To do this, we have to approach them face-to-face.
What impact can your project really have?
Even if only 10% of our target audience acts on what they learn from our project, and were to reduce electricity consumption by just 25% on average, these consumers will save at least $145 million per year (assuming Rs.10/kWh), saving each household $500 on average per year. The Power companies and the Pakistani Government will save an additional $100 million per year in subsidies and losses. The ripple effect on to the economy in terms of richer consumers, more reliable electricity supply, etc. could be even greater, in the order of about $450 million in GDP growth per year.
Given that Pakistan has about 30% Transmission & Distribution Losses, shouldn't your efforts be better served concentrating on solving that problem? Also, considering that Pakistan's electricity demand is growing so fast, what impact can energy conservation really have? Shouldn't we be overhauling the infrastructure and building as many power plants as we can, as soon as possible.
The T&D losses across Pakistan were at 30% in 1998. Since then, they have decreased to 20% on average across Pakistan. The global benchmark is 7%. In Karachi, where a lot of electricty theft takes place, these losses had reached as high as 41% in 2001. With the privatization of KESC (the Karachi Electric Supply Company) the new management has worked very hard to bring these losses down to 29.7% in 2012. They have taken an aggressive stance against the power thieves, and their methods are working. In the coming years, we will continue to see a continued decline in T&D losses across the country.
Now, that being said, there are a number of things that can be done to remove the power shortage and keep up with the future demand: 1) Grow the power capacity 2) Reduce T&D losses: a) Upgrade distribution lines and infrastructure b) Reduce electricity theft 3) Energy Conservation to compress demand
It would be foolish for Pakistan to concentrate its efforts on only one of these solutions. All of these need to be implemented in parallel to get the fastest resolution to the problem. Since we are not electrical engineers and have no specialty in that field, we will let the proper experts follow Solution 2. We will concentrate our efforts on Solution 3 (and to a smaller extent Solution 1), since we have more to offer there.
And energy conservation is very important to suppress demand, or the growth of demand, as the case may be. Energy conservation is the difference between the United States using 14.7MWh of electricity per person per year, and Switzerland using just 7.9MWh per person.