Increased loadshedding: IESCO drives Rawalpindi into heart of darkness

Outages of over 14 hours being witnessed; blistering heat, lack of water crippling life.


Our Correspondent May 20, 2013
On Sunday, the mercury touched 41 degrees Celsius and the unavailability of electricity added to the miseries of the residents. PHOTO: FILE

RAWALPINDI:


Incessant power outages have crippled routine life in the garrison city of Rawalpindi after the Islamabad Electric Supply Company increased loadshedding duration to 14 hours per day.


The change became active on Friday, and the addition of six more hours without power every day has left much of the city without access to drinking water, as most tube wells are dysfunctional for much of the day. This has forced most people to purchase bottled water.

Meanwhile, residents of many localities including Adiala Road, Bakramandi, Dhoke Syedan, Tahli Morri, Waris Khan, Mohanpura, Dhok Ratta, Chur, Pirwadhai and Dhok Chaudhrian have said that power outages in these areas are exceeding 15 hours every day.

On Sunday, the mercury touched 41 degrees Celsius and the unavailability of electricity added to the miseries of the residents.

“There is an acute water shortage in the area due to prolonged power outages and people cannot even fill up their water tanks,” said Raheel, a resident of Dhok Ratta.



He added that people could not sleep at night because of frequent power outages mixed with rising temperatures.

Businesses have also taken a hit, as fewer customers are coming to market areas, and staff are left exhausted by the weather.

“We are left with no option but to shut our businesses early as the temperature and power suspensions have reached unbearable levels,” said Mukhtar Ahmad, a cloth merchant in Saddar.

“If such prolonged loadshedding continues, the people would be left with no option but to take to take to the streets against the government,” he threatened.

He said the newly-elected government should resolve the electricity crisis on priority basis, otherwise it will be difficult for the poor to eke out a living.

Blue collar workers do not have it much better.

“I worked at an ice-cream factory.  The power outages forced the owners to shut it down,” Ismail, a resident of Taxila, told The Express Tribune.

The citizens also criticised the power distribution company for the uneven loadshedding schedule being implemented in the city.

“Iesco’s priority is to provide uninterrupted electricity to businessmen and families in posh areas. It is difficult for the citizens to protest against the unequal distribution of electricity,” said Azam Butt, a shopkeeper in the Mareer Hasan area.

The power outages are also playing havoc with studies for thousands of students who are currently appearing in FA and FSc examinations.

Usman, an FSc student, said he has to study by candlelight. “I have to frequently change my study schedule because of these annoying unscheduled power cuts,’’ he added.

He said the newly-elected government should take result-oriented steps to overcome the crisis.

An Iesco official, requesting anonymity, said the increase was not a unilateral move, clarifying that they were ordered to increase loadshedding.

“We had been asked to extend the duration from eight hours to 14 or 15 hours,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2013.

COMMENTS (2)

Shuaib | 8 years ago | Reply

That isn't entirely true, the problem is circular debt, which is due to people not paying for electricity.

Gp65 | 8 years ago | Reply

Loadshedding in Pakistan is directly related to the balance of payment crisis since Pakistan has limited amount to pay for fuel. Yet people who want reduced load shedding simultaneously also object to going to IMF. Talk about trying to square the circle!

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