LAHORE: Citizens braved the worst load shedding of this season over the weekend when 8-hour-long power outages were witnessed within 12 hours with consecutive 4 hours blackouts from 1:00am to 5:pm in various areas of the provincial metropolis.
CNG consumers were also irked and kept roaming around various gas filling stations at night before the beginning of weekly gas shutdown at 6am.This load shedding was in sheer violation of the orders of WAPDA chairman, currently serving as the head of all distribution companies, who has ordered all DISCOs to streamline load shedding schedule and stop observing any unscheduled blackouts. Citizens criticised WAPDA and LESCO for poor load management by resorting to such load shedding during their sleeping hours. Muhammad Azhar, a resident of Firdous Market Gulberg III, said they could not sleep at night due to consecutive load shedding. “Our UPS system also stopped working and my kids remained disturbed the whole night,” he said.
Another citizen, who works in Islamabad and was in his native town to spend weekend, said usually 4 hours schedule load shedding in observed in the capital city but the conditions here are altogether different. “I am surprised to see miserable conditions of load management in Lahore, the capital city of the largest populated Punjab province which is also the business and agriculture hub of the country.”The situation was almost the same in Gari Shahu area and on Sunday massive load shedding was observed during the day hours.
Overall, the last week remained worst from load shedding point of view. On Thursday dozens of factory workers held a protest demonstration in front of Lahore Press Club. The protestors claimed facing around 14 hours load shedding on daily basis in their areas. They blocked the road for traffic for an hour and shouted slogans against WAPDA and LESCO. They blamed the government for unemployment and closure of factories. They said owners had fired daily wagers because of routine load shedding.
According to new gas load shedding schedule of the SNGPL for CNG sector, all CNG stations have been ordered to stop gas sale at 6am on Sunday morning. Many CNG users were unable to have their tanks filled before the closure of stations at 6am, owing to the load shedding.
Wapda spokesman, Abid Rana said that electricity generation was decreased to 7,600 megawatts against the countrywide demand of 12,400 MW. The shortfall was 4,800MW. The hydel generation was 2,225 MW, thermal 1,700MW and IPPs were adding 3,675MW to the national grid, he added.
The spokesman said that non-availability of required quantum of fuel was the main reason behind the increased load shedding. He said that 700MW power was out of system due to gas pipeline blasts and resultant closure of three power houses Uch, Habibullah Coastal and Sheikh Maanda Quetta Power Station.WAPDA Chairman on Saturday presided over a meeting of the power sector companies and ordered all DISCOs to stop all unannounced blackouts from April 8.
The meeting also decided that all companies would announce their load shedding schedule for next 15 days by Sunday (Yesterday). It was also decided that the load shedding schedule would be directly monitored by the office of the Chairman WAPDA. The meeting also decided that all director operations of the distribution companies would remain in their office during office hours to ensure implementation of the load management schedule.
But soon after this key meeting, Lahore witnessed massive load shedding. Consumers complained that such meetings are questionable when they fail to achieve what is discussed. LESCO authorities were not available for comments despite repeated attempts of calling on the official cell phones of chief executive Muhammad Saleem, chief engineer Mr. Mehbood, and spokesman Auranzab Suharwardi. – DailyTimes