LAHORE - After around a month of worst load shedding, the government suddenly woke up and succeeded to slightly bring down the duration of power outages in big cities especially in Punjab, thanks to prime minister’s notice and somehow decrease in temperature. Creating mess and badly disturbing the routine life, the duration of blackouts, however, is the same in small cities, towns, rural areas of all the provinces. Sources said the national grid is facing more than 50 per cent gap between electricity demand and supply. It is expected the intensity of load shedding would further decrease within two to three days across the country. The government cut the gas supply to Punjab CNG stations and some industry diverted the gas to power plants which added around 1,000MW in energy basket. First time in the history, the gas filling stations would remain off for five days in a week in May. The gas would be available only on Wednesday and Sunday in the province. The IPPs increased the generation by arranging fuel after the government ensured payment to them. The hydel generation is still 60pcof its capacity due to low outflow of water from dams. It will increase after a week or so when more water would be required to meet the irrigation requirements.Sources said that electricity demand was touching 16,000MW against the total generation of 12,000MW and the domestic consumers were bearing around 12 to 14 hours average load shedding. From the available 12000MW, around 15,00MW power is fixed for VVIP feeders, KESC and 10 to 15 per cent counts for line losses while remaining around 10,000MW is being divided in 10 power distribution companies (Discos) of four provinces. Every Disco is getting less than 50 per cent electricity of its demand from the national grid and dividing it in a way that big cities are facing less load shedding than the small cities, town and rural areas. The Lesco is conducting 10-hour load shedding in Lahore and 14 hours in rural areas and other cities. The Gepco, Mepco, Fesco are conducting 10-hour load shedding in big cities like Gujranwala, Multan and Faisalabad and 14 to 16-hour in rural limits. The situation in interior Sind, Balochistan and KPK is even worst. As per National Transmission and Dispatch Company Limited (NTDCL), the electricity demand was standing at 14,500 megawtt (MW) against the total generation of 12,000MW, creating shortfall of 2,500MW in national grid. The hydel generation on Friday was 3,830MW, the Wapda owned thermal power plants generated 1,410MW while Independent Power Producers (IPPs) put a big chunk of 6760MW in the energy basket, according to NTDCL. It was informed that 220kv Sibbi-Quetta transmission line tripped and its tower found damaged due to sabotage which disturbed electricity supply to Quetta and adjacent localities.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 10-May-2014 here.