Power outages mount to 12 hours


LAHORE – Unscheduled load shedding made a striking comeback on Thursday, as the city faced 12 hours of outages while rural areas witnessed blackouts of 16 hours, Pakistan Today has learnt. The power shortfall crossed 3,500MW irking citizens. Almost all city areas faced one hour closure after every one hour making routine life miserable.
In many areas, electricity was closed under the garb of technical repairs and was restored in the afternoon. Citizens said that sudden closures had put them in a lot of problems and they could not perform important tasks. CNG stations were also closed due to absence of electricity adding to the miseries of fuel-starved motorists.
The hide and seek of electricity continued on Wednesday night and throughout Thursday. The Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) has announced six hours closure for urban areas of the Lahore Electric Power Company (LESCO) and 10 hours closure for rural areas. During the last week, every sub-division was closed for six to eight hours continuously in the name of repairs.
“My children got late from school due to suspension of electricity,” business executive Tariq Mehmood said adding that when he woke up in the morning there was no electricity and children faced immense problems in getting ready for school. “At least there should be no power closures in the morning when people get ready for offices and children go to schools,” he said.
Housewife Saima Ahmed complained that her refrigerator stopped working due to continuous load shedding and many kitchen items got rotten. “Children could not have breakfast and went to school without eating anything,” she lamented. “I had to visit many CNG stations to get gas but station staff complained about electricity closure and gas was suspended,” motorist Jaleel Haider said.
LESCO officials said that the company is conducting routine load shedding and unscheduled load shedding is being done to overcome the power shortfall. “Electricity shortfall has increased and it results in extra power closures,” LESCO Deputy Director Public Relations Javed Ahmed Khan said. According to sources, grid stations are closed on standing instructions from the Regional Control Centres (RCC).
They said that the RCC manage unscheduled load shedding and as soon as grid station officials receive instructions from the RCC, they have to suspend electricity. “If we do not close electricity from grid stations then the RCC can do it on its own,” an official of the Green Town Grid Station said while seeking anonymity.
According to sources, power shortfall has increased to 3,500MW and could increase further if gas supplies are not restored to power stations. PEPCO Energy Management and Conservation Director General Muhammad Khalid was not available for comments despite repeated attempts.