KARACHI: The beginning of the winter season has brought unannounced and prolonged gas loadshedding in the entire city piling miseries on people, mainly students and office-going people.

Informed sources and residents of different areas told Dawn that the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) started loadshedding much ahead of the officially planned loadshedding, actually scheduled for December.

The federal government in early November had planned 16-hours gas loadshedding in December for domestic consumers, who would be supplied gas for three hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon and three hours in the evening.

However, almost every locality in the city has been facing very low pressure or no supply of gas during peak hours for the past several days and the gas utility’s complaint service, 1199, kept on telling domestic consumers that they did not have any information about any scheduled or unscheduled loadshedding in any part of the city.

Loadshedding begins two weeks ahead of schedule

City Administrator Barrister Murtaza Wahab, who is also provincial government’s spokesman, said that Sindh supplied around 60 per cent of gas to the federal government, but did not get its due share as per the relevant constitutional provision.

He said there was no gas loadshedding in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, while Sindh was faced with loadshedding despite the fact that it produced gas.

“The unannounced gas loadshedding is badly affecting the domestic consumers and as well as the industry in the city,” he added.

It may be noted that gas production from Sindh is between 2,700-3,000mmcfd while the SSGC was supplying less than 900mmcfd to the province.

Sources in the gas utility told Dawn that interruption in gas supply was affecting the areas like Lyari, Keamari and other tail-end areas in the SSGC network as there would be an estimated shortfall of 200-300mmcfd in the network during the upcoming winter.

Consumers condemned the SSGC for resorting to the unannounced loadshedding in the city and said that the natural gas had disappeared while the winters had not actually begun in the metropolis.

Zarqa Jabeen, a resident of Garden West, told Dawn that gas was being supplied for a too little time with an extremely low pressure making it difficult to cook food. “There is no gas in the morning which is the most troubling thing and my children are forced to go to their college without having breakfast,” she added.

A resident of Saddar said that his locality and adjoining neighbourhoods including Lines Area and Burns Road had been witnessing low pressure for the past one year and the gas utility never paid any heed to their repeated complaints. “Now, there is no gas almost throughout the day,” he said, adding that he was compelled to buy breakfast and tea from nearby restaurants for his family.

There are some localities where gas supply is suspended after midnight and restored after 7am with an extremely low pressure.

Shahzad Hassan, a resident of DHA, said he got his geyser off in the morning. “Initially, I thought my geyser had gone out of order, but later I learnt that there was no gas supply to my locality during night,” he added.

Another DHA resident said that there was almost no gas supply in his area for the past two months, still he got bill of over Rs700. “Previously, during the past six months, gas was supplied one time in a day, early in the morning or in the evening, and that too only for couple of hours,” he lamented.

As the low pressure of gas continue to hit consumers, many of them are reportedly to have installed compressors in their homes to increase the pressure, a practice that is adding to the miseries of neighbours.

Ms Tabbassum Arif, a resident of Bhittai Colony, told Dawn that there was no gas supply in her locality most of the day. “Whenever the supply is restored, the pressure is so low that I can’t make a cup of tea in the morning,” she said, and added that the use of illegal gas compressors in the neighbourhood had further decreased the gas pressure.

A large number of consumers are also compelled to use LPG for running their stoves and geysers.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2022

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