LAHORE: Forced power loadshedding amid summer heat has made people’s life miserable in urban and rural areas of Lahore and other parts of Punjab, especially during the fasting month of Ramazan.

The situation is terrible in the both rural and urban areas falling within service jurisdiction of Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) high-loss feeders (all categories), where the consumers are forced to suffer 4 to 10 hours loadshedding in various timings.

The affected Lesco consumers have criticised the government for doing nothing to mitigate the problem by ensuring uninterrupted power supply.

“The terrible loadshedding is biting us in such a severe hot weather. But the officials continue to make tall claims of uninterrupted electricity supply. Such claims are absolutely wrong,” deplores a resident of a rural area in Kasur.

“For the last many days, we have been facing unannounced power loadshedding for two to four hours in different timings,” he says.

Officials claim LNG purchase by new govt to improve situation

According to a resident of Batapur, the power consumers have been facing loadshedding for four to eight hours. “We don’t know why our (semi-rural) area is being treated this way,” he says.

Talking to Dawn, a resident of Johar Town says: “Since beginning of summer, especially the month of Ramazan, unannounced loadshedding has disturbed our routine business. For the last many days, we are also witnessing loadshedding or tripping during Sehr and Iftar timings,” According to a Lesco source, the situation has started improving after the long heatwave spell weakened due to rains in parts of Punjab. “During Iftar timings, the electricity shortfall has considerably been reduced. On Wednesday last, maximum demand had touched 4,900MW whereas the shortfall was over 500MW,” the official says.

A source in the petroleum division says the ongoing energy crisis, which is at the root of the scheduled and unscheduled power loadshedding, is likely to end soon, as the new government, through an immediate tendering process recently procured on-spot three Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) cargoes that will be delivered to Pakistan within supply window between May 1-2 and May 12-13 at the rate of $US29.6700 and $US24.1500 per MMBTU by Total Energies and Qatar Energy Trading — the lowest bidders.

“It has happened for the first time during the last couple of years that the country will receive such a huge quantity of LNG (three cargoes) in May. Besides, the country will also receive eight LNG cargoes in May on the contractual rates as per an agreement with Qatar. So the number of total cargoes to be received in May will be 11 — almost equal to the total re-gasification capacity of the country’s two private sector LNG terminal at Karachi Port,” Ghayas Paracha, a representative of the All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) explains while talking to Dawn.

Mr Paracha says the country, similarly, will receive another LNG cargo (on-spot purchase) within June 6-7 delivery window from the Qatar Energy Trading, besides nine others, on the contract price under the agreement with Qatar.

“We are thankful to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for buying LNG from international market in this difficult time for reducing the gas shortage and ensuring supply, especially to power plants and CNG sector,” he says.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2022

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