LAHORE: With power shortfall surging to around 4,500 megawatts, all nine power distribution companies (Discos) on Thursday started observing hours-long forced loadshedding/load management in urban and rural areas across the country.

However, the situation is more alarming than it may sound, as according to reports there were hourly power outages during peak hours even in big cities, including Lahore, and 12 to 16 hours in rural areas, according to official sources.

“The total demand of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) crossed 4,200MW during peak hours on Thursday, whereas the supply, as per the squeezed allocation, ranged between 3,100MW to 3200MW. It means that Lesco alone is facing a shortfall of at least 900MW,” an official source explained while talking to Dawn on Thursday.

“Various power plants, including the nuclear K2, K3, C3, developed a fault and halted power generation. Similarly, some thermal plants also stopped working and the entire situation caused a shortfall of around 4,500MW in the total countrywide demand of over 19,000MW,” he added.

Officials of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) were not available for comments despite repeated attempts, but a source confirmed that all Discos were facing a shortfall in their demand, forcing them to resort to load management in their respective service areas.

On the other hand, consumers have been complaining of hours-long loadshedding since Wednesday. “In Rawalpindi/Islamabad, we are experiencing loadshedding on an hourly basis,” Arsalan, a consumer, told Dawn. Similarly, residents of Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Okara, Nankana Sahib, Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Gujranwala, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Khanewal, Vehari, Sargodha, Khushab, Mianwali and several cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh also complained of unannounced outages.

“If electricity outage wasn’t enough, we are also facing gas loadshedding at night from 9pm to 6am daily,” Akbar, a resident of a private housing society on Lahore’s Khayaban-i-Jinnah, told Dawn. He blamed the government for “miserably” failing to deliver.

Meanwhile, the unannounced electricity loadshedding has also caused a water crisis in major cities of Punjab and other provinces. Lahore is facing a rather distressing situation due to non-operation of tubewells because of the outages and the squeezed timetable.

“For the past many days, we have been facing a severe water crisis. But since Tuesday, the situation has worsened owing to water shortage after loadshedding,” Ikram, a resident of Johar Town, lamented.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2022

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