Power, gas cuts amid blistering heat make citizens’ lives miserable

Published April 22, 2022
People spray each other with water as temperatures rise in Karachi. — AFP/File
People spray each other with water as temperatures rise in Karachi. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Citizens braved a sweltering Ramazan day on Thursday as the K-Electric (KE) announced a lengthy ‘load management’ schedule, with power outages lasting up to four hours in many areas.

“Due to shortage in the national grid, load management is carried out in your area,” the SMS from KE read and listed the outage timings. On Thursday, loadshedding in Karachi peaked with many areas facing up to four hours of announced outages.

However, many areas – especially those on the peripheries – faced longer outages, with no respite for consumers in sight.

Residents from Kharadar, Mithadar, Machhar Colony, Hawkes Bay, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Gulshan-i-Iqbal and other densely populated areas of the city complained of prolonged outages when Dawn reached out for their comments.

No relief to faithful in Ramazan; water shortage adds to people’s woes

“For the last few days, loadshedding has started playing havoc. The heat and humidity along with the loadshedding are making it unbearable. My children have not slept for days now,” said Mrs Hassan, a resident of Kaghzi Bazaar.

Along with power cuts, many areas in the city continued to face the issue of low gas pressure, especially around Sehri and Iftar times, while the water supply situation aggravated as tanker service providers cited power outages at hydrants for unavailability of water.

Shama Javed, a resident of Maulana Mohammad Saddiq Road in Kharadar’s Khadda Market area, said: “There is a loadshedding of nine to 10 hours every day. The nightly loadshedding spans at least three hours, particularly between 12mn and 4am.”

Ms Javed further said that prolonged power outages and low gas pressure were making it impossible for families to keep the daily routine.

She said her area barely had any gas in the winter months. “Twice a week the gas supply had been good enough between 11pm and 5am to cook food,” she added.

Amir Mirza from Gulshan-i-Iqbal said the gas outage was the norm. “We have been cooking using LPG fuel as there is no gas from 6pm onwards.”

Talking to Dawn, Ahmed Chandio, a resident of Ramzan Gabol Goth, Safoora Chowrangi said that in his area loadshedding was persistent. “Power goes off for two hours after every four hours.”

Madiha Rehman, a resident of Phase IV, DHA, said that daily loadshedding was continuing. “From 11am to 12noon, there is an electricity outage.”

“There is literally no gas in our area between 7pm and 10pm,” she added.

Customers reached out to KE’s Facebook and Twitter pages to lodge their complaints, with many sharing that loadshedding in their areas continued for over four hours despite Ramazan.

In a statement, KE claimed that situation in most parts of Karachi remained stable amid a reduced power supply from the national grid.

“Amid a growing shortfall of electricity due to insufficient availability of fuel, the National Grid authorities directed KE to curtail power supply by 300 MW. KE maximised its available generation capacity to bridge the demand-supply gap, but the utility had to undertake load management in some areas. As a prudent practice, KE immediately issued an SMS to alert all registered consumers who would be affected to apprise them of the situation,” the statement added.

Responding to Dawn, SSGC PRO Safdar Hussain said there was a shortfall of 30mmcfd from a gas field due to a production drop. “There is some technical issue at the gas field. Normal gas supply will resume in one to two days,” he added.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2022

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