ISLAMABAD - The monster of loadshedding gripped many parts of the country, paralysing household, business and industry.

According to sources, power loadshedding is underway up to 14 hours in different areas under Multan Electric Power Supply Company, and up to 8 hours in different areas of the Lahore Electric Supply Company.

“We have been facing blackouts every alternate hour and sometimes in 24 hours, we don't have electricity for 14 hours,” said Ahsan Ali, a shopkeeper in Multan.

“Auto engineering workshops, juice shops and other small businesses depend on electricity and due to the ongoing power cuts for hours, we cannot even pay rent of the shops,” he said adding, “How would we feed our families?” He said due to the blackouts, small businesses are on the verge of collapse.

The consumers from rural areas under Lesco expressed the same views.

Multan Electricity Power Supply Company and Lahore Electricity Supply Company are big distribution companies and their average demand and supply gap during summer season is somewhere around 1,800 megawatt and 2,000MW respectively. Similar blackouts were also reported from rural parts of other distribution companies also with a variation of duration.

It was learnt that electricity consumption in many parts of Mepco and Lesco is still the same due to prolonged summer season, while electricity generation is reduced considerably. Low voltage was also reported from different parts of the country.

The Ministry of Water and Power spokesman said that during Ramadan and onwards, they used all means to bridge the gap between demand and supply, and electricity was generated through all possible means including costly fuels, which increased electricity cost. He said that after mass protests against the heavy bills, power generation through costly fuels has been stopped, resultantly the demand and supply gap has swelled, leaving the department with no other option but to carryout loadshedding.

The official also denied rumours that Secretary Nargis Sethi has gone on long vacations after she was remanded by the top bosses for over billing and failure to reduce loadshedding.

It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Water and Power has been requesting to the Ministry of Petroleum to allocate natural gas to power plants so that cheap electricity could be generated, but owing to severe gas shortage, but the later has not responded to the request so far.