Islamabad - The scorching heat and humidity coupled with prolonged and unscheduled power outages lasting for eight to 24 hours made the lives of the citizens miserable across the country.
The stifling humidity and scorching August temperatures, where it is hard to even breathe, long spells of load-shedding across the country were unbearable for most of the residents.
Bani Gala, the residential area of prime-minister-in-waiting Imran Khan was one of the worst hit localities, where the power supply could not be restored even after 24 hours.
In the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) jurisdiction, Nilore, Tramri, Sattelite Town, Rawalpindi Cantonment, Chakwal, Fateh Jang, Attock and Sanl experienced the worst power outages. Massive load-shedding was also reported from Peshawar and Lahore.
The long spells of breakdown failed the UPSs, while solar panels lost their power generating capacity due to cloudy weather, adding to the miseries of the people living in the thickly-populated areas of the twin cities.
IESCO officials passed the buck on the National Transmission & Dispatch Company (NTDC) — a government-owned power transmission company — saying the power outages were caused by the failure of 220 KV Burhan and 500 KV, Rawat grid stations.
“Due to the failure of the NTDC, we are facing 114 MW deficit,” said a source in IESCO. He said that the use of air conditioners multiply in August and September due to the humid weather, and “the system trips due to the heavy load and sometimes, the load-shedding is carried out to avoid system collapse”.
He held NTDC responsible for more than 24 hours load-shedding in some parts of the capital. On the other hand, NTDC officials said the power outages were caused by the excess load on the system. They said the Rawat and Gatti grid stations continue to bear the overload due to which areas falling in the jurisdiction of the IESCO, the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) and Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) continue to suffer.
The source, however, attributed up to 24-hour-long outages in some parts of the twin cities to the failure of the NTDC.
“The major reason for the long power outages in Islamabad was caused by a malfunctioned bus bar at University Grid Station Islamabad,” the source said, adding, presently three transformers, each of 450MVA, were installed at Rawat but they were unable to bear the load. He said that Burhan facilities were upgraded a few years ago, which he said needed yearly up gradation.
When asked an NTDC official if the situation will improve in one-month as a 750 MVA transformer would start functioning, he said the system has been transported to the Rawat grid station and soon it will be installed, which will lessen the burden on Rawat and Burhan feeders.
The official pointed out that the less hydel power generation was also a factor that led to the low power generation. According to insiders, the total supply-demand gap was between 2000MW and 4000MW at different timings during the day due to the dwindling power generation.
Information Officer at the Ministry of Water and Power Zafar Yab Khan on his twitter account insisted that the power shortfall was 800 MW at 2030 hrs on August 6, 2018. His post was criticised by the twitter followers. Abdul asked, “If the shortfall is only 800MW, why there is 4-6 hours load shedding in Lahore. Why is this figure-fudging? Have mercy on us.”
Some ridiculed him (Zafar Yab) while some used strong language for presenting fabricated and misleading figures. However, he did not respond to the comments on his social media pages.