–Some areas without power for over two days
–Others facing 10 to 12 hours of load shedding
LAHORE: After the windstorm that struck Lahore on Tuesday evening, residents of the metropolis have suffered a long period of ordeal as they have been without power supply for over 46 hours, in the scorching heat during Ramzan.
Official sources at LESCO who wish not to be named told Pakistan Today, since the blackout on Tuesday evening Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) has handled the situation with negligence and has failed to address the situation properly. They added, following the blackout, power was restored after 5 hours in some areas around Lahore, yet the majority of residents had to spend the night without power supply. They added LESCO has failed to deploy backup power as well especially during Ramzan as temperatures have peaked to 48 degrees Celsius.
Out of the adversely-affected power consumers, one third were without electricity supply for up to 16 hours till Wednesday afternoon meanwhile, some areas still wait for power to be restored. According to an official, power supply still could not be restored to about 10 per cent of the homes in the city as of Thursday afternoon. He added many electricity poles and transformers had been damaged by the severe storm and LESCO needs more time to address the repairs.
Moreover, areas surrounding Lahore Ring Road have been without power for over 46 hours now. A resident of Khayaban-e-Amin, Muhammad Jamshaid, 55, told Pakistan Today, “It has been over 46 hours that we have been without electricity. Sadly, apart from LESCO, the society’s office responsible for power distribution has failed to provide backup power as well, which should have been set up immediately after the storm.” He further added, “This is criminal negligence on LESCO’s and housing society’s part. Lahore is burning due to high temperatures, especially during Ramzan, apart from that there are elderly people and young kids that are suffering as well and it seems that officials have turned a blind eye to the matter.”
Khayaban-e-Amin Security and Maintenance Incharge Major (r) Faseeh, told Pakistan Today, “The issue has to be resolved by LESCO. We are in communication with them; 8 poles were completely damaged and had fallen, 4 have been replaced and the remaining was in backup. Moreover, SDO, Xen, SE and LESCO chief executive were approached and the problem has been communicated.” When asked about back up power for the residents, Major (r) Faseeh did not respond.
However, despite claims of the issue being resolved on a priority basis, the residents are still without power and no timelines are being provided.
It is pertinent to mention that LESCO officials including LESCO Spokesperson Imran Zafar have ignored various efforts made by the scribe to seek a comment on the ongoing epidemic. Moreover, residents of various localities have complained that LESCO officials are nowhere to be found. Despite several efforts to register complaints, LESCO has yet to announce an estimated time required for the repair of its system, residents of the affected areas added.
An energy expert while talking to Pakistan Today said, “At any given point in time there are only 3 linemen to cover the whole of Gulberg area, which starts from Qurban lines and touches Model Town. If something goes wrong in the area it would take a considerable amount of time to rectify the issue.” He further added, “After the rain, some 3 to 4 trees fell in Gaddafi Stadium affecting the transmission and it took LESCO 30 hours to fix the issue.”
“LESCO is seriously understaffed and no one is interested in investing in research and development and innovation. We still use the same technology left by the Englishmen somewhat 70 years ago when they left the country,” he added. “The country and its energy mix are in shambles, we seriously need to upgrade our systems and DISCOs need to need to hire experts and not wing their way,” he concluded.
Apart from the damage to LESCO’s system, there has been a sharp increase in unscheduled load-shedding. Earlier, it was reported that LESCO was implementing an average two to four hours electricity load-shedding on daily basis in its domain. The company is responsible to ensure power supply to districts of Lahore, Kasur, Okara and Sheikhupura.
LESCO spokesman said that the company had now been observing load-shedding in accordance with its daily schedule, however, its duration varied for consumers of various categories including industrial, agricultural, commercial and domestic.
However, contrary to claims after the departure of the PML-N government parts of the city now face load shedding of up to 10-12 hours on a daily basis.