PESHAWAR: National and provincial lawmakers from Khyber Pakhtun­khwa continued to forcibly enter grid stations and turn on power supply on Thursday even as the utility company warned such actions could seriously damage the transmission infrastructure.

The provincial home and tribal affairs department has also directed district administrations to ens­ure no unscheduled loadshedding is carried out.

This is the latest development in the row bet­ween KP and Centre on loadshedding, that had ostensibly settled last month, but resurrected this week after KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur and a number of his party lawmakers barged into grid stations across the province during the Eid holidays.

They forcibly turned on the power to areas where Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) — the province’s main power utility company — was carrying out loadshedding due to “high line losses”.

Now, Pesco has written to the Centre warning about a possible collapse of the power distribution system if electricity to all high-loss feeders was switched on.

In a June 19 letter add­ressed to the Power Plan­ning and Monitoring Company managing director, the Pesco CEO claimed that “elected representatives” in several KP districts “forcibly” switched on supply to 99 feeders from 15 grid stations on June 18.

A day later, another 54 feeders on five grid stations were forcefully activated by elected members.

The letter added that it was “not possible for the transmission and distribution system to switch on all high loss heavy load feeders” as the demand would “lead the system towards the collapse”.

The letter warned that in case of any such damage, consumers would have to “wait for days, not hours”, for the electricity. The switching of 11KV switchgear by “un-trained/irrelevant people may cause blasting of equipment”.

The Pesco chief also claimed that police were power requested to lodge FIRs against members of national and provincial assemblies, but no action has been taken.

PTI lawmakers enter grid stations

A day after the letter, PTI lawmakers and their supporters barged into three more grid stations in Peshawar and restored power supply to 19 feeders.

According to Pesco, Shandana Gulzar, MNA from Peshawar’s NA-30 constituency, entered Sheikh Muhammadi and Mattani gird stations with her supporters and resumed the power supply on Thursday. Pesco claimed that Samiullah Khan, MPA from Peshawar, was also with Ms Gulzar.

They restored power supply to six feeders from Sheikh Muhammadi and nine feeders from Mattani grids.

The MNA also argued with the staff and “did not listen” to them as she forcibly restarted feeders which were switched off, Pesco claimed.

Earlier during the day, MPA from Peshawar’s PK-84 constituency, Haji Fazal Elahi, entered the Rehman Baba grid station, located on the Ring Road, with several protesters.

Pesco claimed the protesters restarted power supply on Hazarkhawani 1, Hazarakhawni 2, Yakatun and Akhundabad feeders.

“Line losses on these four feeders were in excess of 80 per cent due to electricity theft and non-payment of outstanding bills,” according to the utility company.

District administrations’ meetings

Also, on Thursday, district administrations in several areas held meetings with Pesco and Tribal Areas Electric Supply Company (Tesco) to reduce the duration of loadshedding, following the directives of KP’s Home and Tribal Affairs Department.

The department had directed the deputy commissioners to hold meetings with the utility companies and come up with a plan to avoid unscheduled power outages across the province.

In Mardan, provincial Minister for Food Zahir Shah Toru, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Muhammad Fayyaz Khan Sherpao, and Pesco officials attended the meeting held at the DC office.

The minister warned Pesco officials that unannounced loadshedding would not be tolerated.

It was decided that all assistant commissioners would monitor grid stations in their respective jurisdictions.

In Bannu, DC Shah Saud chaired a meeting at his office attended by provincial minister Malik Pakhtoonyar Khan and Pesco officials.

In Lakki Marwat, a meeting chaired by DC Rahmat Ali Wazir reviewed loadshedding schedules on all feeders.

MPAs Johar Muhammad Khan and Tariq Saeed Khan attended the meeting where DC Wazir asked Pesco officials to keep the supply on for at least 12 hours a day on feeders where bill recovery was 50 per cent or above.

In Lower Dir district, DC Wasil Khan held a meeting with Pesco XEN Muhammad Zeb in Timergara.

The XEN briefed the meeting about loadshedding schedules on different feeders and line losses in the district.

Separately, the Pesco superintendent engineer of Dera Ismail Khan Circle, Fida Muhammad Mehsud, has said loadshedding in the area was being carried out as per the schedule.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2024

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