LAHORE - The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) has intensified power loadshedding for industrial as well as domestic consumers to more than eight hours as the shortfall has crossed 4,000MW after the newly-built 1180MW Bhikki power plant has stopped power generation.

Industry sources rejected the government claim of zero-loadshedding, saying the industrial estates in provincial capital are suffering from at least four hours power shutdown along with low voltage, tripping and other technical issues causing serious damages to the industrial machineries. Official sources said that during last week different newly established power plants including Sahiwal coal-fired plant, Havaili Bahadur Shah and Balloki RLNG plants stopped producing power at their full capacity due to technical faults, resulting into increase in scheduled loadshedding hours. However, some of their units have now started power generation partially, reducing intensity in loadshedding as compared to the last week when power shutdown period has reached to almost 10 hours a day.

The consumers of provincial capital for the last one week are facing severe power breakdowns as the major newly-built state-owned thermal power plants stopped electricity generation due to faults. The power shutdowns in some areas have crossed more than eight hours duration due to record shortfall in this Disco. Officials said that presently Lesco is getting less power supply to maintain the scheduled power loadshedding, as old power plants of GENCOs have stopped working due to some technical faults.

Presently, the newly-built plants including Sahiwal coal-fired plant, Havaili Bahadur Shah and Balloki RLNG plants are not producing power at their full capacity due to technical faults, resulting into increase in scheduled loadshedding hours. They said that the situation would persist until full hydel generation at the Mangla and Tarbela Dams is started following the maximum water filling level by the end of this month.

Various areas of city faced a worse situation of constant power breakdowns of up to eight hours when 132kV grid stations stopped functioning due to overloaded system. Several areas including Thokar Niazbeg, Raiwind Road, Multan Chungi, Johar Town, Fatehgarh, Harbanspura, Mughalpura and Baghbanpura faced constant electricity shutdown for hours after various grid stations were switched off due to technical issues and they were forced to remain without electricity for long duration. The people in these localities spent their nights without electricity after a power breakdown disrupted the distribution system of the 132kV grid station.

The Lesco officials said that they observed shutdowns in many areas after the National Power Control Centre forced the Disco to stop various 132kV grid stations. When asked, Lesco officials agreed about frequent power breakdowns being done in unscheduled manner in Lahore. Giving reasons behind electricity failures for long hours on Friday, they said that problem had occurred in main supply line which occurred due to overload. Due to hot and humid weather, people utilise electrical appliance like air conditioners and room coolers to beat the heat as a result of which load on power lines exceeds which creates fault in main supply line of 220 KV. Now work on rectifying fault in main line has been almost completed because of which the problem of power outages in unscheduled way would end.

The consumers demanded the government to take serious notice of the matter and take practical and effective measures to cut power outages duration and to end practice of unscheduled loadshedding.