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June 6, 2018

Outages increase as demand all-time high


June 6, 2018

LAHORE: For the first time, power demand shot up to 26,000mw on Tuesday, leading to extensive unannounced loadshedding across the country on the back of a vast gap of 5,300 in supply of electricity.

A senior official of the Ministry of Energy said that with the surge in hot weather in the country, power demand for the first time crossed the barrier of 2,6000mw, which is about 2,000mw more if compared with the earlier highest recorded demand in summer 2018. The power generation, on the otherhand, has faltered to 20,700mw, showing a shortfall of 5,300mw. This shortfall was the largest in terms of gap in demand and supply of electricity.

Owing to unprecedented shortage of power, even people living in outage-free posh areas of Lahore are facing unexpected loadshedding.

Sources said that not only record demand was one of the main reasons for forced outages but lesser-than-expected electricity generation was also a factor behind widespread power failures in the country. Despite tall claims of the outgoing regime that generation capacity would be enhanced to above 25,000mw before peak summer requirement, power generation could only be increased to around 20,700mw.

The transmission and distribution constraints are also making whole effort futile, as power supply has to frequently shut due to overloading of the system. It is a common phenomenon, especially at the distribution level, that power supply was cut intentionally to suppress demand.

The power distribution companies are also accused of not drawing full load allocated to them out of available electricity to feed high-losses feeders due to low recoveries. They are oblivious of the discomfort of the masses and preferred disconnecting power supply on the pretext of technical issues.

Owing to such messed up situation, zero loadshedding has become a dream in the day and even during Sehr, Iftar and Taraveeh times.

When contacted, the spokesman for the Power Division admitted growing shortfall in electricity for the first time this year, saying these are very difficult days as far as meeting burgeoning demand of electricity is concerned. He conceded that the record demand plus under constraints areas of power distribution companies were the reasons for power failures during the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the fragile power distribution system of Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) was hit by a severe windstorm on Tuesday evening. Out of 1,700 feeders of Lesco, power supply to about 1,400 feeders adversely affected for hours. Owing to unexpected blackout, almost the entire provincial metropolis has been without electricity supply during Iftar and Taraveeh, which otherwise was exempted from outages.

There is a complete darkness in many localities as UPS and generators have largely been exhausted. Water supply also suspended in the absence of electricity supply. The LESCO management seems to be clueless about power supply restoration.

An official of the company said that power suspension was due to an unforeseen situation emerged in the evening because of the weather event. He said that teams of the field staff were working for restoring power supply. However, he gave no timeframe for power resumption.

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