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Lahore: Power outages: one hour after every hour

LAHORE: The Lahorites have again started facing 12-hour load-shedding in 24 hours as thee Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) has increased duration of power outage on the “instructions” of Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) on the pretext of electricity crisis, The Post has learnt.

“Despite tall claims, the government has failed to streamline the matters with independent power producers (IPPs) who have handicapped WAPDA and PEPCO,” insiders told The Post. The sources said the electricity shortage fall has reached 3,800 MW in the country due to dependence on the Independent Power Producers (IPPS) besides shortage of water and fuel for generating electricity.

“The IPPs often stop electricity generation to pressurise WAPDA for the payment of arrears and tariff increase,” they said. In December 1998 WAPDA Act was amended to permit establishment of PEPCO and dismantling of WAPDA to increase its efficiency but the step proved wrong as WAPDA has shifted its responsibilities to others.

WAPDA has been divided into a number of entities responsible for generation (four generation companies), transmission (the National Transmission and Despatch Company) and distribution (nine distribution companies).

The process of separating the various entities and corporations is still in progress. Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO), a separate agency within WAPDA, has been given all responsibilities regarding control mechanism on generation and distribution of electricity.

LESCO has destroyed business activities and factories due to frequent power tripping, causing huge losses to industry and traders community. Sources said the LESCO is just an instrument for the supply of electricity as it cannot generate electricity to meet the growing demands and it is the task of WAPDA and PEPCO to ensure supply of electricity as per the increasing demand of the country. The consumers, however, hold LESCO responsible for their miseries as they pay bills to it but it does not take any responsibility for the scheduled or unscheduled load-shedding in the districts falling under its jurisdiction, including the provincial capital.

LESCO officials say they strictly follow the PEPCO instructions regarding increase or decrease in the load-shedding duration. Sometimes the load-shedding duration crosses the duration of 14 hours in a single day in some neglected localities of the city.

“Washing clothes and performing other household tasks has become difficult and children cannot complete their homework due to unexpected load-shedding,” Ms Mehreen, a resident of Gulberg, told The Post.

The insiders say the duration of load-shedding can be reduced to six hours as announced by Water and Power Federal Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf but lack of coordination between various sectors and actors has created problems. As per reports, the ongoing power cuts are a result of the shortfall of 3,800 megawatts and all nine electric supply companies have been permitted to start unannounced load-shedding of 12 hours daily with power outage on each alternate hour or for more time in neglected areas.

The sources said Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) has electricity demand of 2,600 megawatts and it includes the electricity needs of heavy industries in the five stations, Kasur, Okara, Sheikhupura, Lahore and Shahkot, falling under its jurisdiction LESCO spokesman Javed Khan told The Post that it could supply as much electricity to people as it was getting from PEPCO and it is being done as per instructions of PEPCO. When contacted, PEPCO spokesman Tahir Basharat Cheema said load-shedding was being carried out as per schedule of six hours a day and rejected the reports of unannounced load-shedding.

Source: The Post

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