Outages-stricken consumers ransack LESCO office

*Mob blocks GT Road in Daroghawala, burns tyres, damages equipment*Helpless staffers take to their heels to save lives

LAHORE: Stricken by unannounced and prolonged outages of electricity, consumers blocked GT Road in Daroghawala and threw traffic out of gear for quite some time by burning used tyres besides attacking a complaint office of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) on Wednesday.
Chanting anti-government slogans, a large number of Batapur residents formed a mob that stormed LESCO complaint office and wrecked computers and other devices as helpless LESCO officials took to their heels in order to save their lives.
The protestors blocked the road completely by burning used tyres, disrupting vehicular traffic for quite some time. A police contingent called out by the administration tried to pacify the protesters but in vain. Later, police reinforcements were sent in to control the situation.
Citizens are already enduring massive electricity outages in the holy month of Ramazan.
With increase in use of air-conditioners in humid and muggy weather, complaints of overloading and tripping of transformers have also increased.
Last week, a transformer of 220 KV Bund Road Grid Station was damaged due to overloading that landed the residents in huge trouble. Electricity was though supplied to the area through alternative transformer, the installation of new transformer of 250 MVA capacity took nine days to complete.
With the installation of new transformer by NTDC engineers, electricity supply to 132/11 KV grid stations of Gulshan Ravi, Qartaba, Saidpur, Alama Iqbal Town and Johar Town started with full capacity. 
The capacity of 220 Kv grid station will also meet the future needs of the said area. It will reduce line losses, improve voltage profile and help in un-interrupted supply of electricity to the consumers.
Separately, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) delivered 31.084 billion units of hydel electricity to the National Grid during 2013-14 fiscal as compared to 29.560 billion units in 2012-13, registering an increase of 1.524 billion units. 
The increased hydel contribution was made possible due to efficient operation and maintenance of hydel power stations, availability of more water in reservoirs and generation from recently completed projects, including the raised Mangla Dam in particular.
Wapda spokesman Rana Abid said in a statement that this additional contribution of cheap hydel electricity by WAPDA helped the government save Rs 24.38 billion of the national exchequer, which otherwise would have been incurred on generating equivalent quantum of electricity from expensive imported oil.
He said that WAPDA billed Central Power Purchasing Agency (CCPA) for its hydel generation during 2013-14 at an average cost of Rs 1.50 per unit whereas per unit average generation cost from imported furnace oil was Rs 16. The government charges consumers at Rs 11.50 per unit on average.
According to generation data for 2013-14, Tarbela Dam, the largest hydel power station in the country, generated 15.138 billion units during 2013-14 as compared to 14.755 billion units in 2012-13 and Mangla, after completion of raised component, generated 5.725 billion units against 4.576 billion units produced in 2012-13. The remaining quantum of electricity was generated by other hydel power stations during 2013-14.
It is pertinent to mention that hydel power generation capacity of WAPDA stands at about 7,000 MW of electricity – about one-thirds of the total installed capacity in the country. Hydel is the cheapest, cleanest and environment-friendly source of power generation. Pakistan’s energy mix is heavily tilted in favour of expensive sources of power generation. The phased induction of low-cost hydel electricity will not only improve its ratio in the energy mix but would also lower tariff and provide relief to the consumers.

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