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LAHORE: People in several parts of Punjab will have to suffer additional loadshedding of at least three to four hours for a week from Friday (today), following closure of a 500kv transmission line to connect the newly-built 1,320MW Sahiwal Coal Power plant with the national grid.

During the week there will be six-hour outages in urban and eight hours in rural areas, Dawn learnt on Thursday.

The closure of the 500kv grid station and the transmission line will affect a majority of areas falling in operational jurisdiction of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) and various parts of the Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) and Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco).

The Lesco areas facing additional outages include Lahore, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Okara and Nankana Sahib, says a senior Lesco official.

“After this brief inconvenience, the electricity supply to our areas will improve due to connectivity of the Sahiwal coal-fired plant with the national grid,” says the Lesco Chief Executive Officer Syed Wajid Kazmi.

Talking to Dawn, he said similarly the plant’s connectivity with the national grid would also improve the power supply to the areas falling under other distribution companies (DisCos). He, however, said that he didn’t know exactly that to what extent the line’s closure would affect the Fesco and Gepco areas.

“I can confirm that the entire area falling within Lesco jurisdiction will be affected due to the line’s closure,” Mr Kazmi added.

He said the Lesco had been directed by the quarters concerned to carry out loadshedding for three to four hours, in addition to the existing schedule.

“The addition of loadshedding hours means a cut of about 400MW in the Lesco quota. Before this, we were already facing a deficit of 370 to 380MW, forcing us to observe a load shedding schedule of three to four hours on daily basis,” he explained.

He said during the week of additional outages, Lesco and other affected Discos would be supplied electricity through the 500KV system dedicated for northern parts of the country.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2017