PESHAWAR: Tangled in a complex web of wires, the city’s decades-old transformers are living on their last rusty leg. Along with load-shedding, the outdated machinery is adding to the city’s power woes as it is unable to provide a steady supply. Wapda officials have also been unable to deal with the ongoing crisis.
A majority of transformers are old and overburdened. Dozens of those lying out of order await the arrival of Wapda officials to repair them. Meanwhile, the public holds its breath in the hope of getting some reprieve in the scorching heat.
However, Wapda employees are unable to carry out repairs due to a heavy workload. As a result, households have been forced to pool in their finances for repair work from private electricians.
Muhammad Irfan, a resident of Israrabad, Chamkani, has been visiting the Wapda office for the past few days. “Our 50KV transformer became dysfunctional on the first day of Ramazan,” he says. “Wapda officials have visited our house but have failed to repair it.”
Irfan adds each household has no option but to contribute Rs500 for repairs. However, after three days, things go back to square one. He says up to Rs12,000 has been spent and now consumers were facing voltage problems.
“We no longer have the capacity to arrange for its repairs as the transformer is decades-old and can be only repaired by Wapda workers,” he adds. Irfan says activists and workers of various political parties could use their influence to compel Wapda officials to repair or install new transformers on a priority basis.
“However, they seem to have disappeared after local government elections,” he adds.
“The problem exists in every street of the city,” says Kherullah who lives near a railway station in Hashtnagri. “They had our transformer for the last 10 days to repair it.” Kherullah says the lack of electricity has also created a water shortage.
“The officials are not paying attention to our appeals,” he adds.
Another transformer in Sethi Town is also awaiting repair. According to Shahryar, repeated visits to Wapda offices have proved useless. He believes that since people of his neighbourhood do not have connections with influential people, they are being told to wait their turn.
“They are probably busy due to several issues and faults, but with this scorching heat, things must be repaired within a week.”
Wapda/Pesco Public Relations Director General Shaukat Afzal could not be contacted despite several attempts. However, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister Amjad Ali says they have started to resolves voltage and overloading issues. He says a meeting was held with the Pesco chief executive to discuss problems faced by the general public.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.
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