THE temperature in Lahore is expected to soar higher in the days ahead, and that is adding to the worries of the locals because they are already suffering from severe electricity loadshedding that makes the unbearable heat even worse. Not everyone can afford the luxury of generators and UPS. How can people survive yet another heatwave when the power supply gets disconnected every other hour? One really wonders if the relevant authorities actually want people to survive.

I understand that loadshedding is directly linked with the demand-and-supply equation, but the situation was never as bad as it is these days. Gas shortage in chilly winters and power shortage in scorching summers seem to be the fate of the people in Lahore, and nobody knows why. We, the people, continue to keep our end of the bargain by paying the utility bills on time. But what we get in return is a constant supply of misery and frustration.

I know, and everybody knows, that power outages is not a problem specific to Lahore; the whole country has been in distress and nobody is expecting any change in the near future. It is not even a case of hoping against hope. The scenario is dark. Pitch dark.

Despite the hollow promises made by the government and the local power utilities of bridging the demand-supply gap, there seems to be no way out of the troubles we are in. Many of us in Lahore only get a break of a few hours between any two power outages. Indeed, some areas only get a 30-minute break. Life has become a joke; a cruel joke.

In Karachi, where I thought the situation would be worse, things are not so bad as, according to my sister who lives there, the power utility there follows a schedule and informs the area residents beforehand about loadshedding and maintenance schedules. Can their counterparts in Lahore offer us just that much? Even that will be a positive.

Ashraf Zaidi
Lahore

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2022

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