Prolonged power outages in sweltering heat tests patience of faithful

Protests against power outages in Malakand on Monday claimed a person's life and injured a dozen others

Izharullah May 29, 2017
Locals protest against power outages near Kohat road grid station on May 29, 2017. PHOTO: NNI

PESHAWAR: "The cries of my children due to a power outage in the middle of the night have become unbearable," Sabz Ali Khan, a resident of Acheni in Peshawar, told The Express Tribune.

"We are facing over 16 hours of loadshedding in the scorching heat, and that too in Ramazan," he added.

Khan was among the protesters who took to Peshawar's Ring Road on Monday, blocking the thoroughfare for all sort of vehicular traffic for over three hours. "We wouldn't let anyone cross the road," he said as he wiped the sweat from his forehead.

On Saturday, protesters surrounded a 132KV grid station in the city's Hazar Khawani area. They also stormed Taj Abad Grid Station on Monday and forcibly restored supply to various feeders.

In Peshawar, the temperature has been rising up to 45 degrees, making it hard for the ones fasting. "Consumers who pay bills are also suffering, owing to power thefts by a few consumers," Khan said.

Citizens across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are experiencing power outages of between four and 20 hours a day.

Two dead, several injured as protest against power outage in Malakand turns violent

According to the documents provided by Peshawar Electricity Supply Company (Pesco), areas where line losses range from zero to 50 per cent are experiencing four to six hours of loadshedding, those with 50 per cent losses have over 14 hours of loadshedding, and areas with 80 per cent losses have 18 hours of outages.

There are 928 functional feeders in the province. According to documents, 40 feeders are facing line losses of over 50 per cent and consumers on such feeders are experiencing load shedding of more than 14 hours.

According to Pesco's Director General Media Relations Shaukat Afzal, consumers who pay their bills will not face power outages.

However, a senior official of the company requesting anonymity denied that line losses were the only reason behind prolonged outages. According to him, obsolete transmission or distribution lines were also major contributors to the blackouts.

Even if the federal government provides the province with its total share of electricity, he added, its transmission lines do not have the capacity to bear the load.


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