Frequent power tripping and fluctuations frustrating capital’s residents
By Irfan Ghauri
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad once considered the model city of the country with modern civic facilities is facing the same problems such as water shortage, choked sewage lines, open man holes, dilapidated roads and growing traffic pains that other cities have been facing over the years.
However, the capital was an aberration in regards to uninterrupted power supply to its residents but fluctuations of power, especially in peak hours during summer season has taken away the city’s exceptional position in this regard.
The voltage fluctuations have become common in all sectors of the city for the last couple of years. Even the posh sectors where Islamabad Electricity Supply Company (IESCO) claims to have been upgrading its installations regularly are facing the same problems.
Despite high power tariffs the consumers also suffer from frequent home appliance failures resulting because of power fluctuations. The consumers blame WAPDA for the sorry state of affairs while the WAPDA officials blame consumers for the problem.
Historically there were not more than 250,000 power connections all over the country in early 1960s while the number has swelled to over 150,000,000 today. In addition to this the load has increased manifolds because of changing living conditions. An average house supported a couple of lights, one of two fans, an iron and occasionally a refrigerator and a TV set a few decades back. Today all the mentioned appliances have become necessities.
WAPDA has failed to keep pace with these changes and has not upgraded its system properly during the last fifty years.
Amir Hussain Chamman, IESCO director public relations, told Daily Times that the gap between demand and supply of power was the main reason behind poor performance. He said all WAPDA installations had been loaded but with the advent of summer season the load further increased resulting in frequent power breakdowns.
The official said that consumers used more than the sanctioned load causing transformers to heat up and trip. He said consumers do not declare actual usage while getting power connections. He said in the capital city use of multiple air conditioners was common and an average air conditioning system consumed the power that 60 tube lights consumed.
The official said the system should be upgraded after every 20 years. He blamed the financial constrains for delay in revamping of the entire system.
The consumers who pay huge chunk of their incomes as bills for electricity ask many questions from WAPDA officials. However the only certainty is that the authority would immediately disconnect the supply of any consumer who failed to pay a month’s dues, without asking for a reason.