LAHORE, May 22: Wednesday was another hard day in Lahore which sizzled at 47 degrees Celsius and people braved outages for the better part of the day.
The private and public water supplies got disrupted as tubewells could not pump water because there was no electricity, affecting most city dwellers. In many parts of the city, people pump water from public supplies to their rooftop tanks but they could not do so because either there was no water in those pipes or there was no power to pump water up.
According to officials of the Lahore Electric Supply Company, it was the most horrible day as electricity supply was at its worst. “Against a demand of over 4,500MW, the company was getting only 1,500MW,” said an executive engineer.
The supplies dropped even down at certain points of time and shortfall was close to 70 per cent. Theoretically, even then the figure should have ensured eight-hour power supply in the city. What made supplies more ‘rigged’ for people was the role of the National Power Control Center.
“No one really knows when the NPCC would switch off supplies to certain grid stations – in the name of balancing supply and demand position. The centre literally has split-seconds to balance the system and it blindly shuts down supplies. In crisis like the current one, the control of the transmission and distribution systems shifts to the NPCC which has no sense, time or preference to judicially distribute power,” he claimed.
“The current release of Rs15 billion would hardly make any difference as far as loadshedding is concerned,” claims an official of the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC). The sector owes hundreds of billions of rupees in what is commonly known as circular debt. Such a meagre amount hardly makes any difference because they don’t go into fresh purchase of furnace oil but are adjusted against old dues. That is why they don’t produce intended results and crisis continues as has been the case so far,” he said.
“That is precisely why the city went almost without power on Wednesday despite Rs22 billion injection, as ordered by the caretaker prime minister.”
“It was three to four hours of loadshedding after 30 to 40 minutes of supplies,” said Muhammad Ramzan of Gulberg area. “If posh areas like Gulberg suffer like that, one can imagine the plight of localities like the Old City suburban areas. Life has literally come to standstill; no electricity, no water, only baking heat,” he deplored.