Unannounced outages: Residents protest against electricity hide and seek

Protesters complain against unfair treatment despite 100 per cent recovery from their area.

Ali Ousat June 09, 2013

KARACHI: With the current heatwave refusing to go away, unannounced load-shedding forced a large number of North Nazimabad’s Block P and Q residents to block the Shahrah-e-Noor Jehan for over two hours to register their protest.

Hussain De Silva housing society president Faisal Sheikh said that although the plan chalked by the utility shows only three hours of announced outages, the area was being deprived of electricity for more than 12 hours a day despite the fact there is no electricity theft in their area. “If they don’t fix this, we will besiege their office and we would not take responsibility if any untoward incident happens.”

He claimed that this is not the first time they have had to protest as they suffer from frequent suspensions and said that it is unfair to subject them to prolonged outages even though the residents are paying their bills on time.

The load-shedding has affected the residents and the business community alike. Alliance of Market Association Chairperson Atiq Mir said that traders were aware that the country was in the grip of severe energy crisis and were ready to cooperate with the government but the unannounced power cuts were driving them up the wall. He said that the outages have seriously affected routine life, with students and businesses being the worst-hit, and expressed fears that thousands of workers could be laid off while the government continued to be a silent spectator.

Humayun, a resident of block Q, said that early morning load-shedding is nothing short of mental torture for the residents.

Some in the crowd even suggested that KESC has created an artificial shortage. A utility official, meanwhile, denied the claims of the protesters and said that load-shedding was being carried out as per schedule.

Talking to The Express Tribune, shopkeepers in Orangi Town and Nazimabad rubbished the claims made by KESC and said that Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) demand has increased significantly after unannounced suspensions intensified.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2013.


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