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KARACHI: Citizens braved another day of power loadshedding during the hot weather on Thursday though the cloudy sky brought some respite. K-Electric had already said that they were finding it “extremely challenging” to supply uninterrupted power to their consumers while getting “inadequate” gas from the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC). Owing to this they have been carrying out loadshedding in one-hour cycles in residential areas and four hours on average after midnight in industrial areas.

The misery of consumers increased manifold when they also experienced power failure due to localised faults or maintenance work, which was in addition to the loadshedding. There are also some residential areas near industrial areas which are experiencing extended loadshedding not meant for residents but for industry.

A resident of Block 21 of FB Area told Dawn that the area where he lived was behind a large mall, which is connected to the industrial area. “Loadshedding in our area starts at midnight exactly and then we are without power until 6am,” he said.

Besides loadshedding, ‘localised faults’, ‘maintenance work’ trigger breakdowns

“I have children who are appearing for their class nine and 10 exams these days. They go to their exam centres tired because they have not been able to get a good night’s sleep,” he added.

A resident of another area connected with the industrial area also complained that they had been without power for over four hours during the night. “But we are not [part of] industry, we are residents. What are we being punished for?” he said.

“Usually, things like power issues are resolved in our country by protesting on the roads and burning tyres. But we are decent, educated people, not hooligans. Please don’t drive us to that,” he said.

Another residential consumer said that he was fine with two hours of loadshedding but then there was also the ‘localised faults’ in his area with too many maintenance shut-offs. “KE should at least keep their equipment etc maintained so that consumers don’t have to suffer further during this gas supply crisis situation that they talk of,” he said. “Fuel is not so cheap and it is too expensive to be running generators for so many hours,” he said. “Besides, not everyone can afford a generator.”

A KE spokesperson said Karachi was deprived of 500MW of power as gas being given to them by the SSGC was not enough to run their single-fuel gas power plants. Currently, the power utility was being given 90MMCFD as against the 276MMCFD allocated by the Economic Coordination Committee.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2018