LAHORE - Almost 90 per cent of Lahore plunged into darkness at 10pm owing to huge gap between electricity demand and supply in Lesco system, pushing the power distributor to conduct forced loadshedding in the metropolitan for hours.

The country is in the grip of history’s worst loadshedding since the start of April as the shortfall has hit more than 7,000MW. The electricity demand is crossing 18,000MW against the overall generation of less than 11,000MW from all hydel and thermal power plants.

The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) is facing shortfall of around 50 per cent and conducting average 14-hour shutdown in its urban and rural limits. The city consumers are facing up to 11-hour loadshedding with up to three-hour consecutive power cuts in some less privileged localities.

“We are living in hell. We have never seen such blackouts in the start of summer,” said Muhammad Ehsan, a resident of Ali Town, Raiwind Road.

“Where is the government? What about its claims to have done a lot to meet electricity needs?” he questioned.

Ehsan told The Nation his area is experiencing 12-hour loadshedding. “The electricity supply is being cut at 9.15pm daily, followed by frequent disruption throughout the night. Our children cannot sleep and they are unable to go to school. Moreover, we face severe shortage of water daily,” he added angrily.

According to Lesco spokesperson, the company had to carry loadshedding on the directive of National Power Control Centre.

Another official said, seeking anonymity, the system will collapse if the power distribution companies do not abide by control centre directives. The NPCC monitored the burden of transmission system and gave direction for forced load shedding, he added.

The government has officially declared six to eight hours loadshedding in urban and rural areas of the country. But, officials say, the 10 power distribution companies conduct over 14-hour outages on daily basis with some areas of the country are virtually without electricity.

Lesco, on Monday night, shut down its 14 grid stations on the order of NPCC. The grid stations of Gulshan Ravi, Qartaba, Johar Town, Bhati Gate, Band Road, Chah Meeran, McLeod Road, Wallington Road, Cantt, Ravi Road, Iqbal Town, Multan Road and UET were shut down.

Moreover, more than 100 grid stations of Lesco, Gepco, and Fesco were repotedly closed over forced loadshedding, plunging half of the country into darkness.