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LAHORE: With rise in temperature, loadshedding in urban and rural areas of Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) and other distribution companies (Discos) continues to be observed for two to six hours on a daily basis. “We were expecting a zero loadshedding after the government repeatedly claimed to have ended outages in recent months. But the ongoing situation has proved the claims baseless,” deplores a consumer from Batapur.

On the other hand, Discos’ officials claim that they are observing loadshedding only in those areas falling under high-loss feeders. For this, the officials say, such feeders have been divided into three categories.

Under a policy matter, the Discos, according to them, are observing loadshedding for two hours on the feeders facing 10 to 20 per cent loss, two to four hours with 20 to 30pc loss and four to six hours on those having over 30pc shortfall.

Lesco claims outages on high-loss feeders only

“We are not carrying loadshedding even for a minute on 1,233 of the total 1,719 feeders since there is no problem related to recovery, theft and any other sort of loss. But we are observing loadshedding for two to six hours on 486 feeders facing 10 to 20, 20 to 30 and over 30pc losses owing to power theft, non-payment of bills and other issues. The loadshedding on these feeders was started under a policy matter after analysing the aggregate of technical and commercial losses,” a senior Lesco official explained while talking to Dawn.

The consumers are also [off and on] witnessing scheduled shutdowns for several hours due to issues related to maintenance and shifting of services carried out by Discos.

Some days ago, residents of Khanqa Dogra, Bucheki, and some other areas faced forced outages or load management for some hours after the authorities shut some grid stations keeping in view the widening demand and supply gap.

But the officials reject the reports related to forced shutdowns. “The scheduled shutdowns for hours are observed in the benefit of the consumers since the Discos’ field formations perform various jobs related to maintenance or up-gradation,” defends the Lesco official.

He said these jobs would help consumers get uninterrupted power supply without the problems of tripping, fluctuation, low voltage etc.

He said there was no shortfall in Lesco, “as it is being provided with power according to its demand. The Lesco demand ranges from 2,500 to 3,000MW these days and the company is being given the same supply.”

However, the consumers don’t agree with the officials’ stance. “If a majority of consumers is paying electricity bills regularly, then why should they face loadshedding like those in minority involved in power theft or non-payment of bills,” questions a consumer.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2018