PESHAWAR: Will the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa get rid of the lingering energy crisis during the Eid days?
It is a test case for the newly elected government as the electorate has attached high expectations with the new setup.
The consumers in KP who have given heavy mandate to the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) in the province and at the centre are facing severe electricity loadshedding as power remains suspended for eight to 10 hours in the provincial capital and up to 16 hours in rural areas.
The situation worsened during the rule of the caretaker government and the duration of power cuts increased day by day.
Though the new Prime Minister Imran Khan didn’t mention the power crisis in his maiden speech to the nation, the people are expecting relief from his government.
The PTI leadership is aware of loadshedding, particularly in KP. During the five year rule of PTI’s previous government, many PTI legislators led protest demonstrations against power cuts and even went to the extent of besieging gridstations.
It would be no exaggeration to say that the duration of loadshedding during the rule of the last government had been reduced to some extent but it increased when the caretaker setup was installed.
In many localities of Peshawar, including Gulberg, Swati Gate, Nauthia and old parts of the city, power remains cut off for one hour duration after every two hours and some time at alternate hour while on occasions it remains suspended for two to three hours.
The Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) keeps repeating the rhetoric of cutting electricity supply to areas where line losses are high. It often misleads the government as frequent loadshedding is carried out in areas where consumers are paying their bills regularly.
Gulberg is one such locality where mostly business and salaried class are residing and the consumers are paying the bills and are not stealing power.
The Pesco authorities instead of going after the power thieves and controlling line losses in some places find it easy to cut supply to the whole area of a feeder.
Looking into the power division statistics of generation and consumption, the gap between demand and supply is not more than a few hundreds megawatts but loadshedding is carried out for more than 10 hours. This is beyond imagination.
However, the people of KP expect Imran Khan and his government to give them relief in the provision of basic amenities and reduce power loadshedding at least during Eid days.
The consumers would resent power suspension and water shortage during Eid. They expect the federal government to issue directives to ensure smooth power supply and timely repair of faults in the system.