Half the city goes dark | Pakistan Today

Half the city goes dark

LAHORE – Half of the city went in the dark due to a massive shortfall in electricity as the National Control Centre (NCC) closed 60% of the city’s grid stations for an hour on Wednesday. Only after 10 hours of a briefing by Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) Director General (DG) Muhammad Khalid in which he claimed that no unscheduled outages were occurring in the country, power outages between 11 to 16 hours were seen all over the country. For the first time this season, the power shortfall touched 4,355MW leaving consumers in the dark.
Power production on Tuesday remained 10,005MW while demand touched 14,360MW.
A surge in outages only 10 hours after the PEPCO DG’s claims has left many questions marks on the PEPCO’s performance. On Wednesday, however, large parts of the city remained without electricity for more than 10 hours while rural areas witnessed 14-hour power closures. One to two hour outages were seen every hour sending routine life into disarray.
Power production stats: Hydroelectric power generation remained 2,250MW; thermal 1,561MW and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) gave 6,084MW. To overcome the shortfall PEPCO reduced electricity supplies to Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) and gave only 660MW. KESC is responsible for generating its own electricity but when it fails to do it receives electricity from PEPCO. Sources claimed that KESC seldom pays for the electricity it borrows and PEPCO supplies it power on behalf of other consumers.
PEPCO officials said that the gas supply to power plants has been disturbed badly and water dispensation from dams is also low, reducing power production by 1,800 to 2.000MW. Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO) was worst hit by outages which saw up to 16 hours of outages. Industry was badly affected by the power closures and most industries partially suspended production. In Lahore, routine life was badly disturbed.
Outages started on Tuesday night and continued all day on Wednesday. “My UPS could not be charged due to continuous closures,” said Muhammad Javed. In some areas, there was no power early in the morning and people faced problems getting ready for offices and sending their children to schools. “I faced problems in dressing up my children for schools since there was no electricity,” said housewife Ayesha Akhter.
Traders criticised PEPCO for not giving them electricity during scheduled hours. “As per routine our power is closed from 2pm to 4pm and 8pm to 10 pm but on Tuesday and Wednesday unscheduled power outages caused problems for our customers,” said Liberty Market trader Babar Ali. He was furious at the government’s order to close shops at 8pm. “We are ready to close shops only if there are no closures the rest of the day,” he added.

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