City braves worst load shedding as 15 grids go down
* Power ministry says national grid to have 2250MW by today
* Citizens launch SMS protest campaign
By Shabbir Sarwar
LAHORE: Over 18-hour load shedding was observed in most parts of the metropolis on Sunday due to closure of 15 out of 39 grid stations, causing serious problems for the citizens who, in addition to bearing the hot weather, had to suffer from water unavailability.
On the other hand, Power Management Cell of the Ministry of the Water and Power spokesman requested support and patience from the masses, and informed that 1,250 megawatts (MW) would be added to the system on Sunday night and an additional 1,000MW would be added to the national grid by Monday evening.
The city braved one of the worst load shedding days as UPS batteries and other alternative arrangements for electricity supply by the citizens broke down owing to 3 to 4-hour consecutive power outages, which also caused suspension of water supply in several areas. Separately, some citizens also launched an SMS campaign to register their protest against load shedding and gather support against the government. Most of the SMS content tried to motivate the masses, asking them to “wake up, take to roads and join protests against the load shedding.”
Meanwhile, Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) Director Operations Farasat Zaman said that LESCO faced a shortfall of 1,500MW on Sunday as it received only 2,000MW against a total demand of around 3,500MW.
He said that the National Transmission and Dispatch Company had taken over the control of load management in LESCO jurisdiction. “Whenever the shortfall exceeds 4,000MW, the central company takes over the control of energy distribution,” he said.
However, Farasat said that the situation would start improving by Sunday night as some gas supply has been restored to powerhouses. When asked why load shedding was being observed after every 20 minutes in some areas, he said that the LESCO had no idea about this schedule of power outages, adding that the power control and distribution rested with the NTDC.
An NTDC offfical said that the Ministry of Water and Power has arranged gas and oil for power plants and 1,250MW power would be added to the system by Sunday night. On Saturday, the total power shortfall of the national grid had jumped to 7,333MW, which compelled the NTDC to resort to 12 to 16-hour load shedding in urban and rural areas. One of the reasons of further increase in power shortfall was closure of Lalpir and Saphire power plants due to non-supply of fuel.