‘No outages for domestic consumers’

Nauman Tasleem May 30, 2010

LAHORE: Lahoris breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday after Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) announced to temporarily exempt domestic consumers from outages.

The Lesco announcement came in the wake of Pakistan Electric Power Company’s (Pepco) decision to provide relief to the domestic consumers. Muhammad Khalid, the Pepco director-general, said that relatively mild weather and addition of a power plant to the national grid had helped bridge the gap between the power demand and supply.

The demand declining from 15,663MW to 12,968MW is almost equal to the supply which now stands at 12,950MW, Khalid said. Faisal Aziz, a Township resident, said that spending a few days without power outages would be a welcome change. He said that even though the relief was temporary it was enough for some kind of celebration.

Khalid said that the supply to Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) would be decreased from 700MW to 560MW as KESC management had been advised to make its Bin Qasim Power Plant operational. He added that by next month another 675MW of power would be added to the national grid. “A 350-megawatt Pak Gen Power Plant which had stopped working after a technical breakdown has started producing,” he said.

Furthermore, Khalid said that three power plants at Guddu with 215MW, 300MW and 160MW would be available very soon, while the 38MW Alstom rental power plant has shut down because of a technical fault. He added that the Unit No.1 of 185MW Muzaffargarh and the 30MW Lakhra power plant, which had been closed owing to boiler tube leakages, have been repaired and would be inducted into the system in a couple of days.

Traders pinning hopes on Sharif-Gilani meeting Traders in the provincial metropolis are hoping that come June 1, the government will allow them an extension in the business day, moving the closure deadline from 8 pm to 9 pm. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani on May 31. The traders’ community is expecting that an announcement will be made after the meeting allowing them to keep shops and markets open up till 9 pm.

The reduction in electricity shortfall announced by the Lahore Electricity Supply Company (Lesco) on Saturday has given a glimmer of hope to the shopkeepers. The community has been permanently complaining about the losses they have had to suffer and crying hoarse that their counterparts in other provinces were evading the ban. Naeem Mir, president of the Mall Road Traders Association, said he felt that Shahbaz Sharif was convinced that their demands were justified.

He expected that the chief minister would allow them to do business till 9 pm. Babar Ali Bhatti, finance secretary of the Qaumi Tajir Ittehad’s Liberty Market chapter, said, “The administration actively enforced the ban in the first few weeks, they have become lenient with us now.” He said that the traders were united against the policy and would push the government to extend the deadline to 9 pm.

The provincial committee for energy conservation has also recommended the federal government to allow the traders to close shops at 9 pm. The committee headed by Punjab Law minister Rana Sanaullah includes the managing director of Pepco and representatives of trader associations. The committee has also briefed Sharif on the issue and has told him about traders’ reservations.

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