Electricity played another game of cat and mouse with consumers as there were outages which lasted between six to eight hours in most parts of the city, whereas residents of several other localities were without power since Monday evening.
The majority of areas in District Central were badly affected by the power breakdowns and a number of protests were reported on Tuesday.
In North Karachi No-2, a protest against the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) turned violent as an angry mob torched tyres and blocked a main road of the area. They also pelted stones at passing vehicles. Later, the police had to intervene and they resorted to a baton-charge to disperse the protesters.
According to the protestors, the KESC complaint centre was not cooperating with them. “There was nobody to update us about the situation or to inform consumers when power would be restored,” one of them said.
Another group of protestors blocked vehicular traffic on the roads surrounding the Sindhi Hotel and claimed that the whole area was without electricity since Monday night. “This is so insane. We are being humiliated by the KESC and neither the governor nor the chief minister has taken notice of the issue.”
“This road will not be open for traffic till our electricity is restored,” another enraged protester said. “The KESC has been playing with our nerves and it will alone be responsible for any untoward incident in the area,” the consumer warned.
Main Abual Hassan Isphani Road was also blocked by locals protesting against power breakdowns. The SHO of Mubina Town police station, who went out to clear the area of protesters, was assaulted by the angry mob as they refused to budge.
On Sharea Pakistan, vehicular traffic remained suspended for hours as consumers marched onto one of the main thoroughfares of the city and staged sit-ins. Residents of areas like Super Market near Liaquatabad post office, Khamosh Colony, Paposh Nagar, Do Minute Chowrangi, North Karachi, Gulbahar, Gharibabad, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, FB Area, Nazimabad No-2, the majority of the Old City Area and Malir claimed that they were without power for 14 of the last 24 hours.
KESC spokesman Adil Murtaza said that areas such as Super Market in Liaquatabad were affected due to an underground cable fault and a team had been dispatched to rectify the situation. “Usually, it takes more time to identify the fault as we have to dig at a number of places to locate the trouble,” he stated.
According to him, the fault was removed and power supply restored by Tuesday evening. Responding to another question, he said that feeders of Paposh Nagar and Nazimabad were attached to auto transformers of the Baldia Grid. He added that the transformers tripped, causing a domino effect and prompting the feeders in the Paposh Nagar area to follow suit.
However, this fault was also rectified and electricity was restored to the area after a few hours, the spokesman claimed.
The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) also blamed the power utility for the water shortage in many areas of the city and claimed that from 8:00am on Monday till the filing of this report, the electricity of the New Gharo pumping station remained suspended.
The old Gharo pumping station was also suffering from unannounced outages due to which the water utility was unable to deliver up to 300 million gallons on Tuesday. In response to the KWSB claims, Murtazza asserted that the power outages took place due to internal faults at the pumping stations.
“The wiring at these pumping stations is out of date and putting a burden on the machines,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui also took serious note of the announced breakdowns and expressed his dissatisfaction over the unannounced power outages on the eve of Shab-e-Barat.
He has directed deputy commissioners of all five districts of city to submit a detailed report and highlight the power cuts in their respective jurisdictions.
According to him, KESC management was directed not conduct load shedding on Shab-e-Barat, but unfortunately, it continued throughout the night and the next day.