ISLAMABAD - Right under the nose of Ministry of Water and Power , Islamabad Electric Supply Company continues making life of the people of twin cities miserable through long spells of unannounced loadshedding, tripping and low voltage.
Federal Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Asif, who is punctual in his office since the beginning of Ramazan, is trying his level best to minimise the persistent loadshedding. Water and Power Secretary Nargis Sethi, through her video conferences on daily basis, is giving tough time to the distribution companies’ CEOs and other staff.
State Minister Abid Sher Ali is busy in his tours to ensure smooth supply of electricity by rectifying faults and providing resources to the distribution companies. But all this effort seems to bring hardly any fruits.
Iesco showed better performance during some days of the last week but a similar kind of output is being observed now-a-days, as the unannounced loadshedding up to 14 hours is a matter of routine in rural areas. Iesco covers five districts including Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Jehlum, Chakwal and Attock and provided electricity to more than 2.3 million consumers. In Iesco jurisdiction, low voltage is common in addition to the long spells of blackouts. Unannounced power cuts have been reported in different parts of Iesco area.
In Bannigala area which is hardly on 15-minute drive from Iesco office and Zero Point, low voltage is a permanent phenomenon. Due to the low voltage, the consumers have been deprived of their valuable domestic gadgets.
“During last two years, we have lost many of our valued electronic equipments due to the low voltage problem,” Sagheer Ahmed Bukhari, a resident of main Bannigala, told TheNation. Explaining low voltage he said, "when light comes after blackout, most of the time its voltage is low and plugged in electronic equipments like fridge, TV, washing machine toaster and other kitchen appliances go out of order.”
He further said, “It is the toughest Ramazan I have ever seen in my entire life; weather is extremely hot and it is impossible to travel on roads due to the ongoing construction work, and then there are long spells of blackouts; sometimes we have no water for our children as tube-wells don't operate due to the loadshedding.” The residents, living in the colonies on both corners of Islamabad Highway, have been left with no other option but to face loadshedding up to 14 hours.
Iesco staff narrates another story. They claim that Iesco has the largest number of sensitive buildings and they have to ensure uninterrupted power supply to military installations, colonies of judges, ministers and other high-ups.
“With a limited supply of electricity, the loadshedding could not be minimised to five hours during Ramazan as it has been announced by the minister concerned, said an IESCO official. He said they have clear instructions to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to all the VVIP's, and then to other consumers from the quota left.
When contacted, Iesco chief Yousaf Awan expressed hope that the situation would improve in the coming days.
Being exhausted after attending marathon session of a video conference with Secretary Sethi, he restrained himself from sharing the exact amount of electricity quota provided to Iesco .
"I cannot share it with you, as it keeps on changing on daily basis; sometimes it is changed more than one time in one day, depending upon the consumption of other distribution companies of the country," he argued.
With the advent of Ramazan, the PML-N government had announced 5-hour loadshedding in the urban whereas while 7-hour in rural areas. Nargis Sethi was given the task in this regard.