Many city areas experience hours-long outages
KARACHI, June 16: Most areas of the city were badly affected by long spells of power breakdowns, in addition to the regular loadshedding hours, on Friday and Saturday.
When asked about the situation on Saturday evening, the Karachi Electric Supply Company said that there had been no change in its loadshedding regime over the past 24 hours.
Residents of PECHS, Baldia, several blocks of Federal B Area, Garden, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Lines Area, Korangi, Lyari, Gulshan-i-Maymar, North Karachi, Orangi Town, Surjani and many other areas complained of extended power outages and intermittent disruptions in supply over the past 48 hours.
Mr Asim, who runs his tailoring business in PECHS, said his area suffered more outages than the regular hours of loadshedding. “Power went off at around 3.30pm on Friday and was restored at around 7pm while a loadshedding spell normally lasts one to two hours,” he told Dawn.
“Again today power supply remained suspended for an added hour after the loadshedding spell ended. There are several other shops next to mine. We can’t run our businesses this way. The moment power outage begins, my employees quit the shop. Although the sewing machines can be run manually, you need light as tailoring requires delicate machine and needlework. Besides, it gets too hot to stay inside the shop,” the tailor master shared.
“And the thing that bothers us the most is that the bills are as high or even more when the KESC fails us,” he regretted.
A resident of Federal B Area’s block 3 told Dawn that a large number of consumers in the locality had a sleepless night as power went off at around 10pm on Friday. When it emerged that one phase was missing, the affected consumers kept complaining to the KESC but the utility was able to attend to the problem and rectify the fault only at 6.30pm on Saturday.
Another resident of block 20 of the same area said that electricity in his locality played hide-and-seek since 11am the whole day on Saturday.
A resident of Malir said that the power in her area went out at 4am on Friday and was restored only at around 11am on Saturday.
Explaining what had actually happened, KESC spokesman Adil Murtaza told Dawn on Saturday that they were experiencing problems in the power distribution system due to supply frequency issues from the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC).
In a statement issued on Saturday, he said that although the power demand was now surging well in excess of the 2,500MW mark, the loadshedding regime had been kept unchanged. He said the problems faced by consumers on Friday and Saturday were not connected to the loadshedding regime.
“During the past 24 hours, consumers in certain areas have been facing intermittent power outages on account of disruptions at the connected grid stations brought about due to the unstable frequency being received via the NTDC system; the national grid,” the statement said.
In part, to meet the approximately 2,600MW daily requirement of the city, KESC purchases 650MW from the NTDC, which is currently facing a massive power shortfall countrywide, according to the statement.
“Due to this shortfall in the NTDC system, the power supply to KESC vide the supply arrangement with them has become vulnerable to frequency disruptions, currently inherent to the national grid. This consistently unstable supply from the NTDC system has affected power supply to a number of areas across the city. These frequency disruptions are not only causing KESC consumers inconvenience, but putting severe stress on KESC’s own distribution network as well,” it said.
The statement said that KESC realised the inconvenience being faced by customers and was currently liaising with NTDC to address this unexpected development. It is hoped that the situation would be back to normal at the earliest, it concluded.
Meanwhile, some residents of Lyari referred to a large number of children playing in streets, and said: “When you see youngsters playing football or cricket in the streets, you can easily realise that their residential localities were without power. They have been out playing in the streets since yesterday with short breaks,” one of them, Yaqoob Baloch, told Dawn on Friday evening.
“But what irks us the most is long spells of outages after 10pm when we have to watch the Euro Cup matches. Like yesterday we could not watch the first match and had the chance of watching only a portion of the second when the power was restored late in the night. We had made special arrangements for watching the matches with our club members who gather here in a large number. So you can imagine how upsetting it gets for us when power failure deprives all of us of such spectacular events,” said Mr Baloch.