- Ministers say electricity shortfall reached 7,000 MW due to surge in demand following intense heatwave, however govt doing its best to ensure outages-free Ramzan
- Sher surprised over outages in Karachi as Asif says Karachi is K-Electric’s responsibility
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday reprimanded Water and Power Secretary Younus Dagha over power outages in several parts of the country on the first day of Ramzan despite the prime minister’s orders that there should be no load shedding during Sehr and Iftar.
During a meeting with Dagha, Sharif also expressed displeasure over the preliminary report submitted by him and directed him to address citizens’ complaints at the earliest.
Prolonged power outages of up to 20 hours were also reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which resulted in violent protests. The premier had “expressed resentment over power outages during Sehr and Iftar”, said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s House.
Dagha’s report on power outages, which was submitted to the PM, said that the Water and Power Ministry was able to provide uninterrupted electricity to about 75 to 80 per cent of areas in the country on the first day of Ramzan.
The report stated that there were difficulties in areas where Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) and Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) are situated. It said that both companies had received a large number of complaints from residents of the areas.
Citing the reason for power outages, the report said it was due to the severe heat wave in the country which has been ongoing for the past two to three days. It also said that there was an increase in the demand of electricity beyond 21,000 MW.
The secretary assured Prime Minister Sharif that his ministry was fully aware of people’s difficulties and assured him that efforts were being made to continue the provision of electricity in Ramzan.
UNDER CONTROL NOW:
In the meanwhile, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif has said due to “continuous and vigorous monitoring and load management”, the Ministry of Water and Power has been able to control forced load shedding in the country after Friday’s Iftar.
In a statement on Saturday, Asif said the ministry had been able to improve the electricity supply situation and 93 per cent urban and 86 per cent rural areas had been provided uninterrupted electricity since Friday’s Iftar.
Moreover, the minister pointed out that the supply of electricity to Karachi is the responsibility of K-Electric. Ministry of Water and Power is supplying 650MW to Karachi despite difficulties and that the agreement has expired and no new arrangement has been made so far, he added.
‘DOING OUR BEST’:
Moreover, State Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali on Saturday expressed surprise over power load shedding in Karachi despite the continuous 650 MW supply to K-Electric on daily basis.
Chairing a meeting at Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO)’s office after having Sehri, he said the country was facing a shortfall of 6,000MW of electricity and could plunge into darkness if burdened with any more additional demand.
Despite the state minister’s claim of overcoming the electricity load shedding to a certain extent, a sudden power breakdown marred the meeting in the halfway. He said that the national power demand has touched 21,500 MW while the electricity generation was hovering at around 15,000 MW.
However, he said that the government was taking all steps to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the consumers during Ramzan. He said that all the distribution companies had been directed that industries should not be run during Sehar and Iftar time and strict action would be taken against the respective sub divisional officer (SDO) and Xen, if these instructions were violated.
The minister further said that heads of all distribution companies had also been directed to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the consumers during Ramzan by improving their distribution system. The burnt and defective transformers should also be replaced immediately, he added.
The minister said that a load management schedule had been devised under which the domestic consumer would face loadshedding of six hours while the duration of load shedding for rural areas would be of eight hours.
Similarly, feeders of big industries will experience load shedding of eight hours, whereas duration of load shedding for industry mixed feeders will be six hours daily.
The load management schedule should be implemented in its true spirit, the minister said, and directed the employees and officers of the distribution companies to work devotedly and wholeheartedly for providing maximum relief to the consumers during Ramzan.
The minister said that a number of special teams had been constituted which would work round the clock in three shifts to monitor implementation on load management schedule and inform the federal secretary for water and power through teleconference on daily basis.