Countrywide protests against power outages

PEPCOISLAMABAD/ABBOTTABAD/QUETTA/FAISALABAD: Citizens across the country on Tuesday took to the streets against prolonged power outages and gas shortage that have badly disrupted routine activities.

Hundreds of traders and citizens took to the streets in Islamabad, Abbottabad, Quetta, Peshawar, Gujar Khan and other cities of the country, demanding the government ensure uninterrupted supply of gas and electricity. The protesters carried banners and placards inscribed with slogans demanding an end to unscheduled load shedding and exclusion of additional charges from monthly electricity bills in the name of fuel adjustment costs.Addressing the protesters, the speakers criticised the federal and provincial governments and power companies for failing to overcome the power crisis.

They said the government did nothing in the past four years to deal with the energy crisis except paper work and making tall claims, due to which countrymen were suffering adversely.The speakers said political leadership did not get time to think about the miseries of masses as they were busy in protecting personal and party interests.They said they received electricity for only a few hours during the day but PEPCO sent bills of thousands of rupees in the name of fuel adjustments.

They warned that if the alarming situation was not addressed, they would be left with no choice but to attack power companies’ offices and force the closure of WAPDA offices.Trader representatives said trade and industrial sector had been ruined due to load shedding.The traders and labourers said they would be forced to commit suicide along with their children if the situation remained as it is.Meanwhile, Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) officials said almost 17 power houses were shut down across the country resulting in a shortfall of 6,000MW of electricity.

They said the total production of electricity in the country stood at 8,500MW due to suspension of fuel supply by the Pakistan State Oil (PSO).On Monday, the shortfall of electricity production had reached 5,500MW, resulting in load shedding of almost 10 hours in urban areas and of about 18 hours in rural areas of the country.Sources said the shortfall occurred due to disputes over payments between the PSO and PEPCO, which owed Rs 26 billion to the oil company. – PT