Heat wave: No respite from load shedding

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LAHORE: The hike in temperature and shrinking electricity generation have led to prolonged load shedding in parts of the city.

The Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) has reached a shortfall of 1,900MW as the demand for electricity has risen to 3,600MW, leading to almost 18 hours of outages. The company, however, has scheduled six hours of load shedding for industries.

In the past few days, citizens have been faced with three-hour outages without prior intimation. Residents of posh localities face relatively less unscheduled power outages.

Salman Sikander, a resident of a housing scheme on GT Road, said, “We face outages of up to three hours at a stretch, after only one hour of power.” The frequency of outages has increased over the last few days. This also causes a shortage of municipal water. “The UPS doesn’t get charged in the one hour of electricity we get and we can’t afford a generator,” he said.

A Lesco spokesman said, “We only manage scheduled load shedding. The National Power Control Centre or Regional Control Centre turns off the grids to avoid breakdowns, leading to unscheduled outages in the city.” Urban areas are to have eight hours of load shedding while rural areas get 12 hours, he said.

The national demand for power has reached 15,000MW, while total generation is stagnant at 9,500MW. This has led to an overall shortage of 5,500MW. Before the elections, the NTDC increased generation to 11,500 MQ by increasing generation at thermal power stations. Electricity was also directed away from industries and the weather was cooler. Electricity generation through hydel sources, meanwhile, has been improving with the rise in mercury.

Experts believe that diverting gas away from the CNG sector, fertiliser sector and oil dispatchment to power plants, will only add 3,000MW to the grid, whereas the shortfall in peak summer is expected to cross 6,000MW.

Courtesy:  Tribune

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