- PM orders immediate action over prolonged power outages
- Abid Shair Ali says situation worsened due to Bhikki plant’s closure for testing purpose
Unscheduled and long power cuts have triggered protests in different parts of the country after the people failed to control their nerves to bear the suffering of load shedding in scorching heat.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif showed his resentment over the electricity load shedding and asked the authorities to utilise all the resources to control the situation.
The people of provincial capital Lahore and other areas, falling under the jurisdiction of Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO), had been facing the unscheduled and long hour power outage since last Friday due to the closure of numerous feeders. The situation worsened yesterday when people in Manawan, Mcleod Road, Gulshan Ravi, Saman Abad came out on roads and blocked them. They complained that they were facing 16-hour load shedding in their areas, while LESCO officials did not listen to their complaints, adding that the helpline numbers provided on the bills are never answered; it has left them with no option but to protest on the streets.
Sources said that LESCO is being supplied 2,300MW electricity from the national grid, whereas its current demand surged up to 3,300MW.
Furthermore, there were many complaints regarding damaging of electronics due to the low voltage provided by the power supply companies. An official, on the condition of anonymity, told Pakistan Today that many areas are being provided with low voltages, which is definitely harmful for the gadgets and different household appliances.“Power companies have no other option but to supply low voltage electricity to the people,” he added.
The reports regarding load shedding situation in other parts of the province were also denying the claims of power scheduled issues by distributing companies (DISCOS). A six-hour load shedding was scheduled for the big cities, while up to 12 hours were announced for rural areas and villages. But, with the rise in temperature, the gap between supply and demand has mounted up to 7,000MW, as the total demand in the country has increased up to 17,000 MW, but the electricity generation from all sources, including hydel, thermal and IPPs components is 10,000MW. Officials in power sector said that this is impossible for DISCOS to stick with the load shedding schedule because 7000MW is a huge difference between demand and supply. They said that coming days are very crucial as shortfall may rise up to 8000MW, with the demand persisting at 22000MW during the months of June and July, whereas the National Power Control Centre has said that the hydropower production has minimised to 2000MW.
According to Water and Power State Minister Abid Shair Ali, the situation worsened due to the closure of Bhikki Power Plant for testing purpose. He was briefing to the PM, who called a high-level meeting of power sector officials following the power outage situation in the country.
Abid briefed that the government had to put off Nandipur power plant because of its conversion to gas, while Guddu power plant was also generating below than the average production because of low gas pressure. “Sudden rise in temperature has caused an increased 2500MW shortfall in the system,” he added. However, he claimed of a 6,000MW shortfall in the country.
PM advised the ministry to utilise all the resources to remove the vows of people.
After the directions of the PM, the prevailing situation of hours long load shedding slightly improved in different parts of the Punjab, especially Lahore, after the generation resumed from Bhikki power plant.