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LAHORE: Residents of various areas had to bear long power shutdowns, in addition to load shedding, as the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) switched off various grid stations on the pretext of “relocating wires, poles and other paraphernalia” because of ongoing development projects in the city.

The situation led to water shortage in many areas after several tube-wells owned by the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) and private housing societies stopped functioning because of power shutdowns (from 9am to 4pm) on Thursday. The most-affected areas include Johar Town, schemes along Canal Road, Thokar Niaz Baig, Harbanspura and Sahafi Colony.

“There was no prior information about observance of such a long power shutdown in Johar Town. Even, the area sub-divisional officer (SDO) didn’t know about the duration,” laments Waqas, a resident. “We spent the whole day without light and water. It was terrible,” he added.

Ahmad, another resident, criticised Lesco for observing shutdowns in the area twice a week. “It has become almost a routine, as we have been facing such terrible shutdowns for the last two months in addition to load shedding for a couple of hours,” he said, demanding the senior Lesco officials to take notice of the situation.

Harbanspura, including Sahafi Colony, suffered eight-hour long power shutdown. The residents questioned observance of such shutdowns in the ongoing hot weather.

“Why don’t they observe shutdowns in milder weather if they have to do maintenance work. On Thursday, we even couldn’t take a bath since there was neither light nor water,” Hanif, a resident, complained.

However, a Lesco official said the shutdowns in Johar Town, Harbanspura and other parts of the city had to be observed due to construction of a flyover at Shaukat Khanum intersection and Orange Line project.

On the other hand, Lesco administration announced that the shutdowns would continue in various parts of the city till May 16. “We have no shortfall at all, as we are observing shutdowns only due to ongoing construction of various development projects in Lahore, particularly the Orange Line. Due to construction work we also need to relocate our poles, cables etc,” Muhammad Imran, a Lesco spokesman told Dawn.

He claimed the company had already warned the residents of the shutdowns through print and electronic media.

The official said the company had extended the shutdowns’ schedule to may 16 due to various projects going on in Lahore.

“A majority of shutdowns in Lahore are due to Orange Line construction. Such shutdowns will be observed till May 16 in various areas of the city, including Shadman, Bogiwal, Wapda Town and Rehman Park. A major shutdown in the rural areas of Kasur will be observed in coming days,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the Lesco, in addition to the shutdowns, continued observing load shedding for hours in the areas falling under high loss feeders.

“We are observing load shedding for two to four hours on the feeders with losses ranging between 10 to 20 per cent, four to six hours on those facing 20 to 40pc losses and eight hours on the feeders having losses up to 80pc,” Mr Imran added.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2018