Post-mortem: More power to the people in Islamabad. Every else buy diesel for generators

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Art work by Shaikh Faisal Rasheed

ISLAMABAD: The PML-N government promised it would end rolling blackouts before it went home in June 2018. It broke its promise.

In Lahore, power cuts last up to one-third of the day.

“There are eight hours of power outages in the countryside,” said SAMAA’s bureau chief in Lahore, Ahmed Waleed.

“In many areas of Lahore there is no load shedding while in others it is between two and four hours. However, in rural areas the duration is 6-8 hours and there are hardly any areas it is 16 hours or maybe that could be a transmission problem,” he said.

This was part of a special transmission dissecting the government’s performance province by province.

Waleed added that the government had not been able to stop people from stealing electricity. It had not been able to improve its distribution system.

The price has been a high one to pay. An estimated 25,000 power looms have shut down in Faisalabad, the textile capital.

Owners told SAMAA they had to sell off their machinery at junk prices. “Even lower than what you pay for potatoes and onions,” said one man.  Hundreds of laborers have lost their jobs.

Pakistan’s largest city has about six hours of load shedding. Its power utility, K-Electric, is 700 MW short.

“Not a single day has passed without power outages,” said Karachi bureau chief Faryal Arif. “Some city areas are exempt, however.”

Peshawar bureau chief Tariq Afaq added that there had been some improvement in supplies but, “There is no truth in claims that there is an uninterrupted supply in the city.”

There were power cuts even in areas where people paid their bills 100 percent.

It appears, however, that Islamabad has the best deal. Bureau chief Khalid Azeem said: “It would be safe to say that Islamabad has largely been exempt from load shedding.” Rawalpindi has, however, not been that lucky.

Quetta is worst off. “There are to eight hours of power outages in Quetta even though it is the provincial capital,” said SAMAA’s Jalal Noorzai. In some parts of Balochistan it is 20 hours.

Story first published: 9th April 2018

Originally Posted on SamaaNews

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