In the village of Barshamnal, located in Pakistan, residents enjoy uninterrupted electricity day and night for a nominal fee of just Rs 100 per month, even as protests against high power bills and frequent power cuts persist in other parts of the country.
Several years ago, an individual from Barshamnal initiated a small-scale hydropower project along a stream that runs through the village. This project now supplies electricity to every household in the village, requiring residents to pay only a modest fee.
Shaukat Ali, the driving force behind this hydropower endeavor, invested one million rupees eight years ago to construct the project. Today, it provides electricity to over 150 homes within the village.
Barshamnal, situated in the Buner district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has witnessed a transformation in the quality of life for its residents who now have access to electricity for lighting, refrigeration, fans, washing machines, and irons in their homes.
Shaukat Ali’s journey into private power generation began when a local car mechanic proposed that he invest not just for himself but for the entire village. Ali acquired a small canal, a dedicated space, and the necessary equipment to divert water from a major canal, enabling him to generate electricity without impeding the flow of water. Barshamnal currently boasts seven small hydropower plants that provide affordable electricity to approximately 800 households. This innovative approach harnesses the energy of flowing water without obstructing its course, with the water being returned to the stream after use.
The success story of Barshamnal serves as a potential solution for other regions grappling with electricity challenges in Pakistan.