Power cuts amid hot weather add to citizens’ woes

Citizens forced to face 10 to 12 hours long load shedding as supply and demand gap soared up to 7,000 MW

Load shedding duration in Lahore has climbed up to 10 to 12 hours with some areas facing long consecutive power cuts of two to three hours, added to the problems of citizens suffering from the scorching heat.

A Lahore Electric Supply Company official said that the power demand was touching 5,000MW while LESCO was receiving only 3,500MW from the national energy basket.

He said the company was forced to conduct load shedding of 10 hours daily in its rural and urban limits. The gap in demand and supply in national grid crossed 7,000, according to an official of National Transmission and Dispatch Company.

The official said the overall countrywide demand was crossing 25,000MW while the production from Independent Power Producers, Wapda owned hydel sources and government owned generation companies (Gencos) was hovering around less than 18,000MW. Over 20 power plants were facing fuel shortage, the main reason behind load shedding, according to official sources.

The government, meanwhile, has arranged fuel for power plants and hoping some cargoes will reach Karachi in the coming days, said spokesperson for NTDC.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has already promised zero load shedding from Monday. Former energy minister Hammad Azhar claimed government incapability to arrange fuel was the reason behind outages in scorching heat and during the holy month of Ramzan.

Meanwhile the Met office has predicted a temporary relief from the hot and dry weather during the Eid holiday predicting westerly winds entering in the country from May 1.

It added that most parts of country will have dust, thunderstorms and rains during the period.

Currently the country is in grip of extreme weather conditions as continental air prevailed in most parts of the country.

According to details, rain-wind/thunderstorm is expected in Chaghi, Noshki, Quetta, Chaman, Pishin, Qila Abdullah, Loralai, Mastung, Zhob, Ziarat, Kalat, Sibbi, Naseerabad, Barkhan, Larkana, Jaccobabad, Sukkur, Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Layyah, Bhakkar, Multan, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Okara, Pakpattan, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, and Rahimyar Khan from May 1 to May 3.

Dust-storm is also expected in Karachi, Hyderabad, Shaheed Benazirabad, Mirpurkhas, Thatta and Badin during May 1 and 2. Moreover, dust-thunderstorm/ light rain is expected in D. I Khan, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Waziristan, Murree, Galliyat, Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal, Jhelum, Mianwali, Khushab, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Toba Tek Sing, Jhang, Sheikhupura, Lahore, Hafizabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Narowal and Gujrat from May 2 to 4.

Rain-wind/thunderstorm is also expected in Chitral, Dir, Swat, Shangla, Buner, Kohistan, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Haripur, Swabi, Nowshera, Mardan, Charsadda, Peshawar, Kohat, Kurum, Gilgit-Baltistan (Diamir, Gilgit, Ghizer, Astore and Skardu), Kashmir (Muzaffarabad, Neelum Valley, Rawalakot, Bagh, Haveli, Kotli, Bhimber, Mirpur, Srinagar, Baramulla, Shupiyan, Anantnag and Leh) from May 1 to 5.

Samiullah Randhawa is a correspondent covering environment, climate change, food, water and ecology. He is an International Center For Journalists alumnus and a fellow at Kettering Foundation Ohio, USA. He has won two Agahi Awards for reporting on climate change and water crisis. He tweets @sami_randhawa and can be reached at samiullahfarid@gmail.com.