KARACHI: Most residents of the city spent a whole night without electricity after enduring a day-long outage on Monday as the fragile transmission and distribution system of the K-Electric remained affected due to a nationwide power breakdown early in the morning.

Electricity in almost every part of the city, except a few sensitive installations, played hide-and-seek on Monday night and Tuesday making life of millions of people miserable. Besides, the power outage caused an acute shortage of water as pumping stations did not function for want of electricity.

People also faced other serious problems, especially heating issues in the cold weather as the gas loadshedding is already under way across the metropolis.

A large number of people complained that call centres of the KE had failed to give any satisfactory information to the callers regarding the restoration of power supply time.

The power disruption led to a thin attendance at various schools and offices in the morning.

According to residents of some localities, there was no electricity in their areas for the past 36 hours. In other areas, electricity was restored but only for one to two hours.

A resident of Korangi, one of the most populous localities in the city, said on Tuesday evening that the power supply was not restored so far piling difficulties on them.

Patients at hospitals and homes, students in schools suffer most amid cold spell

Senior citizens, students and children were the worst affected due to the outage.

“I have a newborn baby who could not sleep and kept crying as we didn’t have any means of light, not even candles, at the odd hours of the night,” a resident of Gulshan-i-Iqbal said, adding that he and his wife had a tough night due to power supply suspension.

A resident of Garden West said that his elderly father was asthmatic and his condition had deteriorated in the middle of the night. “My father needed to be nebulised, but it couldn’t be done at home due to power outage,” she said, adding that the family had to rush the patient to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Students of comparatively smaller schools in the city which did not have alternative power arrangements, generator or UPS, had a painful time in the chilly weather due to power outages as the windows of the classrooms had to be opened for light exposing children to freezing winds.

Residents of the salubrious parts of the city such as Clifton and Defence Housing Society complained that the power supply remained erratic in their respective areas until morning. Activities at markets and shopping centres in the city also shrank due to power disruption.

Shopkeepers said that a remarkably thin number of customers visited their outlets.

KE version

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the K-Electric, the sole power utility in the city, claimed that power supply to Karachi including residential, commercial and industrial zones, KWSB water pumping stations, airport, and major hospitals was normalised by Tuesday afternoon through KE’s ‘consistent efforts’ and ‘close collaboration’ between KE management and the National Grid authorities.

He said that on Monday morning a wide part of the country’s power network was impacted due to a reported sudden problem in the National Grid network which triggered a cascading effect. The spokesperson said that KE teams immediately began restoration work after confirming that its network was safe, channelling electricity to the citywide network of 71 grids.

He said that the first priority was to restore power supply to strategic installations such as pumping stations, hospitals and the international airport, etc.

“KE management also remained in close contact with NTDC authorities to re-establish the connection between Karachi and National Grid, which sped up the restoration process,” he added.

CEO of K-Electric Moonis Alvi stated, “I am grateful to the Federal Minister for Energy Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan who took an active interest in the restoration efforts and remained in contact with us throughout.

“We also appreciate the support extended to us by the chief minister and the provincial government, as well as our regulator for their guidance,” he added.

Mr Alvi said that while KE networks were back to normal, ground teams remained active to resolve any localised fault.

“KE channels, including social media platforms, 118 call centre, and 8119 SMS service remained available to support customers 24/7,” he added.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2023

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