RAWALPINDI: The twin cities have been hit by frequent electricity outages, spanning six to eight hours a day, in the month of March itself, with the electricity providers blaming rise in demand behind the loadshedding.

With mercury rising to 33 degrees Celsius, power breakdowns have disrupted routine life in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The twin cities have been experiencing the unannounced loadshedding for the last two days.

The Islamabad Electricity Supply Company (Iesco), on the other hand, blamed the power outage on a gap between demand and supply, and apologised to the consumers for what it said was temporary interruption in power supply.

Citizens, meanwhile, accused Iesco of taking no step to provide them relief in the hot weather and ahead of Ramazan.

Citizens facing six to eight hours of loadshedding; Iesco says gap in supply and demand reason behind power suspension

Moreover, the residents of the garrison city are also facing acute water shortage. The civic bodies said frequent power cuts and low voltage forced tubewell operators to shut down the machinery to save them from developing faults.

“Frequent outages have affected our daily routine,” said Mohammad Hussain, a resident of Dhoke Ratta. He said due to the loadshedding, they were also facing water shortage as the area tubewell remained closed.

Rubina Ahmed, a resident of Satellite Town, said darkness as a result of frequent outages might also facilitate criminals in their anti-social activities. She said during loadshedding hours, people kept all doors and windows of their houses shut to avoid any untoward incident.

Faisal Minhas, of Airport Road, said the government had let them down by failing to resolve the energy crisis.

“Had the government worked sincerely, the current energy crisis would not have occurred,” he said.

Naseer Ahmed, a resident of Shamsabad, said frequent outages had created problems for citizens to carry out their routine work.

“When we tried to contact the Iesco official whose telephone number had been given in the bill, it was found switched off,” he said.

Businessmen are also complaining about low turnout of customers because of loadshedding.

“Our business is getting affected due to power cuts,” said Rafique Ahmad, a shopkeeper in Ganjmandi.

Expressing concerns over the frequent power cuts, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Nadeem Rauf said traders had been complaining about disruption in business activities.

Factories are unable to meet the demand as outages have disturbed the working of machinery, especially in the pharma, plastic and iron manufacturing units.

Sudden and unscheduled loadshedding disturbs order placement and also creates faults in machinery and equipment, Mr Rauf said.

Iesco Chief Executive Officer Dr Amjad Khan could not be contacted for comments while the mobile phone of the company’s spokesman, Raja Asim, was also switched off.

On the other hand, Iesco, in a press release, said it had always ensured uninterrupted power supply and timely redressal of consumers’ grievances.

“Due to the temporary gap in supply and demand, load management is being carried out which is purely temporary and uninterrupted supply of electricity to the consumers will be started soon,” the press release said.

It said the Iesco management was in constant touch with the concerned formations and apologised to the consumers for the temporary interruption in power supply.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2022

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