People fail to see logic behind severe loadshedding in Karachi amid cool weather

Published August 7, 2022
<p>In this file photo, the Liaquatabad locality remains shrouded in darkness on as power cuts make people’s lives in the city miserable.</p>

In this file photo, the Liaquatabad locality remains shrouded in darkness on as power cuts make people’s lives in the city miserable.

• Nightlong outages torment children and the elderly
• Muharram majalis severely affected by blackouts

KARACHI: Residents of the metropolis spent sleepless nights and faced hardship during days because of multiple spells of loadshedding being carried out by the K-Electric for the past more than one week despite a low demand of electricity due to prevailing cool and cloudy weather.

Sources in the power utility said that the KE was carrying out loadshedding to bridge the demand and supply gap that had been created ‘artificially’ since it was not producing electricity in accordance with its own capacity.

They said that the company was relying on the cheap power it got from the national grid and the electricity it produced by using indigenous gas.

Information posted by the KE on its website with regard to feeder-wise loadshedding suggest that the power utility was carrying out hours-long loadhsedding on a daily basis — both during day and night — in almost every area of the metropolis.

However, upscale localities of the city were experiencing less loadshedding — minimum four hours — compared to those parts which had been experiencing loadshedding throughout the year.

The sources said that this time around the KE had been carrying out loadshedding after sunset during the first 10 days of Muharram when thousands of majalis took place every day and prolonged loadshedding in the evening increased security concerns.

“There are no areas exempted from loadshedding based on billing. The KE is carrying out up to six hours of loadshedding daily in the areas it previously claimed to be part of the exempted ones where the billing was more than 90 per cent. Nowadays, it exempts an area keeping in view the influence and power of its residents,” said a KE source, asking not to be named.

The source added that the primary purpose behind the loadshedding was to save cost on generation to increase profitability.

A twitter user, San’a Mir, tweeted that her area in DHA Phase I was experiencing four spells of loadshedding for total five hours in 24 hours that included two spells of one hour each after midnight. On Saturday, she tweeted: “Karachi is suffering en masse. People have to work, kids have school. And NO ONE is sleeping.”

The reply from the twitter handle of KE to Ms Mir states: “The shortfall in KE territory has increased from an average of 250 MW – 350 MW to almost 450 MW – 500 MW. Moreover, the shortfall persists round the clock making the nighttime load shed unavoidable.”

Another complained on Twitter about “unannounced loadshedding” at DHA Phase VII to which KE replied that her area was under “rationalised” loadshedding.

When the KE twitter handle reminded a consumer that no unannounced loadshedding was being carried out in the city, journalist Naimat Khan took it to task, stating: “So scheduling load shedding justifies it? It is not a matter of days or even weeks so that people should bear with you. This is a prolonged issue of months, and aimed at pushing fed govt to force SSGC to give you cheap gas without payment of dues by KE. Simple is that.”

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader MPA Khurram Sher Zaman tweeted: “Some areas of Karachi suffering from 12-16 hours per day power outages & load-shedding. Where is NEPRA to hold K-Electric accountable? Sadly, nowhere!”

A resident of Federal B Area Block 15 complained that his previously exempted area had been facing four spells of loadshedding including two at very odd times ie from 1am to 2am and 3am to 4am.

A spokesman for the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen told Dawn that it was for the first time in the last over three decades that the power utility carried out loadshedding during Muharram.

“We held several meetings before and after first Muharram with KE officials but they said due to limited power supply, increasing demand and financial issues they are not able to end loadshedding even till Ashura,” he said, adding: “Later, in some areas they have changed loadshedding time and now conducting loadshedding during day for same hours instead of night...but this is only in some sensitive areas, not all.”

The KE tweeted a generic response to almost everyone complaining about the loadshedding in their locality. It said: “Due to the ongoing power supply constraints, the shortfall persists round the clock making the nighttime load shed unavoidable. The current LS regime is the same as implement from 1st July 2022.”

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2022

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