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May 18, 2018

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Full-blown power outages return

LAHORE: Unlike earlier arrangements of exemption to certain low-losses categories, full-blown load-shedding returned to all across the country on Thursday.

The number of outage intervals was doubled with the duration of each power cut revised to 30 minutes. As per Ramazan load management plans, prepared under the instructions of power division, the Ministry of Energy, for all public sector electricity distribution companies, the intensity of outages would now range between 3.5 hours to 11 hours a day. In addition to ending exemption to domestic consumers living in feeders having 10 per cent line losses, the industrial consumers have been compelled to close their units for 10 hours after ending their status of zero load-shedding.As per revised load management plans of power distribution companies including Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco), Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) and Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco), load-shedding duration for Category-I having up to 10 per cent losses, has been increased from zero hours to 3.5 hours a day, while Category-II having 10-20 per cent losses was increased from two hours to 4.5 hours, while consumers living in Category-III areas having 20-30 per cent losses are now bearing five hours from earlier two hours outages.

Category-IV consumers having 30-40 per cent losses are now facing six hours outages instead four hours, load-shedding for Category-V consumers having 40-60 per cent losses was increased from six hours to seven hours, Category-VI having 60-80 per cent losses was raised from seven hours to eight hours daily, while load-shedding for Category-VII having 80.1 per cent and above losses had been increased to 11 hours from 10 hours daily. For example, Category-I consumers living in Lesco, who were lately enjoying zero load-shedding before Ramazan, will now brave seven interruptions in power supply during 24 hours, having 30 minutes each. This category of consumers is largest in Lesco as over half of feeders observe such electricity supply arrangements. Apart from increasing ordeal of domestic consumers, industrial customers of power utilities will also bear the brunt power suspension as all independent industrial load management timings has been increased to ten hours from zero hours. An official of a distribution company cautioned that additional load-shedding could also be carried out in case of low frequency or due to increase in ambient temperature.

Moreover, depending on increase in power quota, relief to all categories can be given as and when generation/allocated share would increase.The official added that intensity of outages had to increase to ensure zero-load-shedding status during Sehri, Iftari and Taraveeh across country. With significant increase in power outages, it is back to square one for the consumers. They are left with no option but to rely on backup arrangements for electricity supply including UPS and generators. The growing power cuts would act as one after another jolt for hapless consumers in extreme hot weather conditions. When contacted, Zafaryab Khan, spokesman for Power Division, Ministry of Energy, said that power distribution companies were running system as per current situation. He said that load management was the work of DISCOs. He claimed that we have enough electricity generation to meet the demand. He made it clear that industrial load management was being carried out for the month of Ramazan.

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