LAHORE: Unscheduled loadshedding exposes the PML-N government which has been claiming for months that people will have a ‘comfortable’ summer this year.
The plains of the country are in the grip of heatwave these days with most cities recording temperatures around 45 degrees Celsius. The weather conditions are inconveniencing people, especially schoolchildren, as the government is resorting to loadshedding or forced shutdowns for about 12 to 16 hours daily.
With this situation in mind, the government on Tuesday started considering a proposal to suspended power supply to industry or shift its peak hours’ load to normal timings throughout the country.
Ministry discusses proposal to cut supply to industry
“The situation has exposed the government’s tall claims. State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali during a recent media talk in Lahore had claimed that the garments/hosiery industry in Faisalabad had requested him to observe loadshedding for some hours on its feeders. It has proved wrong,” deplores a businessman. “The proposal (if implemented), will deprive hundreds of thousands of workers of jobs,” he added.
The proposal to keep the industrial feeders closed during peak hours (6 to 11pm) was discussed at a meeting held in Islamabad at the Ministry of Water and Power on Tuesday. An official, who attended the meeting, said it was decided to take the business community on board so that their industry’s peak hour load could be shifted to normal timings. “It is called peak hours’ energy saving which is practiced internationally. Last year too, the government had suspended the power supply to industry during peak hours by shifting their load to normal timings,” he said. However, he said, the power supply to the dedicated industrial feeders wouldn’t be disturbed.
Meanwhile, the proposal is a cause of worry for workers doing jobs in factories and mills throughout the country. “It is not a good proposal as it will leave a negative impact on workers. It is really shocking as the government has been claiming about making power generation in the last four years,” Muttahida Labour Federation’s Secretary General Hanif Ramay said.
Also critical is the business community. “It seems an issue of a lack of management. The total installed capacity of the IPPs is 13,000 to 14,000MW. And if 8,000 or 8,500MW are being given to the national grid by the IPPs, it means various plants are not operating these days either due to non-payment or any other issue,” Asim Raza Ahmad, ex-chairman of the Pakistan Flour Mills Association, commented.
People also complain about difficulties they have to face due to unannounced loadshedding. “I am worried sending children to school which has no electricity most part of the day. The situation is not much better at home as all gadgets fail in the absence of power,” said a resident of Johar Town.
Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2017