(MENAFN - AFP) Faced with an energy crisis of crippling dimensions, Pakistan has rolled out a new strategy to curb consumption: telling civil servants to dress appropriately for the weather.
Government officials are being directed to wrap up warm in winter and keep cool in summer in loose fitting shalwar kamis to save on heating and air conditioning bills, water and power ministry official Tanvir Alam told AFP.
The new dress code circumvents the traditional bureaucratic fashion for suits and ties, which leave staff reaching for air-conditioning remote controls in summer when temperatures top 45 degrees Celcius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).
"This is first time the government has enforced a dress code for winter and summer. It is a step towards energy conservation," Alam said.
Peak demand for electricity is around 18,000 megawatts in summer, with a third of that coming from air-conditioning, but power companies only manage to supply 13,000 to 14,000 MW.
The shortages lead to electricity cuts of up to eight hours in winter, and up to 18 hours a day in rural areas during the summer. Last winter there were also widespread gas shortages, with more expected this year.
Alam said the dress code was being implemented on a pilot basis in the water and power ministry and the department that handles cabinet affairs, and will be applied across the board if successful.
"It is working well, we are not even using fans today," Alam said.