Life comes to halt following day-long power outage

Published January 24, 2023
Islamabad’s Aabpara Market plunges into darkness following a countrywide electricity breakdown on Monday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
Islamabad’s Aabpara Market plunges into darkness following a countrywide electricity breakdown on Monday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

RAWALPINDI: Life in the twin cities came to a halt for more than 12 hours after a major power breakdown due to a fault in the main supply line on Monday.

The countrywide power breakdown, triggered by a frequency variation in the national grid early morning, left large parts of the country, including Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta without electricity.

Many areas of the garrison city were without water supply as more than 500 tubewells in the city, cantonment boards of Rawalpindi and Chaklala remained remained switched off. Patients in private and government-run hospitals faced problems. Most health facilities including Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Holy Family Hospital, District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital and Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology ran generators to keep oxygen supply machines and ventilators switched on.

However, surgeries were postponed and patients were given the next day’s date for procedures while in emergency departments, surgeries were conducted as per need.

Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) Medical Superintendent Dr Tahir Rizvi told Dawn that the hospital used generators to keep the oxygen plant running and other machinery in the intensive care unit (ICU), critical care unit and emergency.

He said there was a dire need of oxygen in many wards especially where newborns were being kept in incubators, adding the administration also bought more than 1,000 litres of petrol to avoid any incident in case electricity was not restored.

Twin city residents face trouble without water supply; surgeries postponed in hospitals

On the other hand, large queues of vehicles were seen in many petrol stations. People were carrying cans and bottles to buy petrol and diesel to run generators on. Many cars and motorcyclists queued up in stations in the fear that there would be shortage of fuel if the electricity crisis persisted for a few more hours.

“We also used generators to provide fuel to people in the absence of electricity. Most people came to fill vehicle tanks and most office and hospital administrations requested us to provide fuel for generators and it was the main reason for rush in the filling stations,” said Mohammad Mazhar, the owner of a filling station located on Peshawar Road.

Mohammad Naseer, a resident of Peshawar Road, said routines of many people were broken.

Mohammad Anwar, a resident of Lal Kurti, said first there was less pressure of natural gas and now this entire day without electricity.

“I spent the day without electricity and my mobile phone was out of charge,” said Asher Ali, a resident of Nayyar Colony.

Raza Khan, a resident of Dhoke Ratta, said the promise of the PML-N leadership to end electricity loadshedding was yet to be fulfilled and people would take revenge from them in the general elections while casting vote for their opponents.

Jamal Ahmed, a computer shop owner in Saddar, said he failed to complete work until the evening due to absence of light. “Instead of generators, we used UPS but the battery went dry within two hours,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2023

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