Apni Bijli Khud Banao!
Access to cooking fuel and basic lighting is a fundamental human right, and measures are being taken the world over to ensure compliance with various MDGs. Pakistan on the other hand, has been affected by one of the most chronic energy shortage in the history of the region. Energy poverty is a fundamental reality of life in rural Pakistan. Its 200 million citizens, and its industry and commerce have lagged behind world growth, with some estimates putting the magnitude at well over 3% of annual GDP. Even if new energy supplies are added to the grid in the coming years, we foresee that their benefit will not reach every one equally. For households living below the poverty line – at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) – energy security will remain a dream for decades to come.
Harness Energy (Pvt.) Limited is a social enterprise providing clean and reliable solutions to these households. We believe that sustainable energy access is the first step on the ladder of socioeconomic growth which is why our goal is to go the last mile, and to serve the underserved. Our expertise is in serving communities who live off-grid, and we use unique distribution models to sell our products.
Over 60 million Pakistanis still live off-grid. Just to put this number into perspective, this is more than the entire population of Spain or of Kenya! For these people, life pretty much pauses when the sun goes down. Another 70 million people (more than the entire population of France!) are categorized as ‘under-served’ which means they experience power outages for over 10 hours a day hours a day. Barely a quarter of all households in the country have access to piped natural gas, and tens of millions still burn firewood, dung cakes and agricultural residue to cook their daily meals.
Kerosene, candles, and substandard batteries are used to light up houses at night, which cost hundreds of billions of rupees annually and pose severe health hazards for women and children. Districts like Bahawalnagar and Rajanpur in Punjab, Tharparkar and Thatta in Sindh, and almost the entire province of Balochistan are especially prone to these ‘dirty technologies’ because of unavailability of alternatives. With such primitive and inefficient energy sources being used to power daily activities, it will take decades for these households to come out of poverty.
At Harness Energy, we believe in serving all our customers with dignity and respect. Even though a huge majority of our customers live below the poverty line, our business philosophy is to use the market model to serve them. Due to the scope of the problem, we believe that donor aid and subsidized government programs can never properly tackle energy poverty, and sustainable investments by the private sector are the only long-term solution. We also realize that Pakistan’s already fragile environment cannot afford more degradation which is why all our solutions are carbon neutral over their lifetime. With a history of relying on only the best quality products, we offer a variety of energy solutions.
Solar lanterns help ease the problem of studying and cooking at night and bring many households on the first step of the clean energy ladder. Solar home systems (SHS) are convenient plug-and-play devices that help power appliances like LED lights, fans, and TVs, and cause huge leaps in standards of living. To make sure we don’t lose trust of our customers, we only use solar products that are quality-verified according to Lighting Global standards. We are also a leading Associate of International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) ‘Lighting Pakistan’ program. In the bioenergy sphere, our turnkey biogas plants provide clean gas for cooking meals and running tube wells, and organic fertilizer which increases crop yields. Our clean cook stoves, procured from GACC – affiliated manufacturers, help eliminate indoor air pollution and dramatically improve the health of the household.