ISLAMABAD, May 28: As the mercury crossed 40 degrees Celsius in northern Punjab on Monday, the demand for cooling increased across the region, including the twin cities. However, drop in electricity generation led to prolonged power outages.The unexpected increase in the duration of loadshedding created serious problems for the residents who complained about disturbances in their routine life.
“The situation is serious but the worst thing today was the three-hour-long blackout in the afternoon,” said Baqar Shah, a resident of I-8 in Islamabad. “Even small domestic generators have heated up.”
He said the generators and UPS eased up some of the troubles by operating fans etc., but these cannot operate water motors and fridges.
The electricity shortfall in the country on Monday reached 6,000 megawatts (MW) mainly due to reduction in the hydel and thermal generations. Similarly, the shortfall reached 600 MW for Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco).
The wide gap between supply and demand resulted in power outages of up to 14 hours even in the twin cites which included around 10 hours of scheduled loadshedding and four hours power drops.
“Compared to the demand of around 1,800 MW for Iesco, the total supply has not exceeded 1,200 MW,” said an Iesco official.
Iesco operates all over the Rawalpindi division covering the districts of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Chakwal and Attock. The official said Iesco was only a distribution agency and it received all the power from National Transmission and Distribution Centre (NTDC).
Meanwhile, an official of NTDC said the national demand for electricity had crossed 17,500 MW whereas the generation stood at 11,500 MW only.
“Compared to a week’s time, the demand has slightly inched up whereas the generation has declined mainly from the IPPs and the hydel side,” the official added.
He said the hydel shortfall was due to shortage of water at Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs which have reached their dead levels due to slow melting of snow in the Himalayas.“The cloud formations and the recent rains in that part dropped the mercury; as a result, the water flow was low compared to the same period last year,” the official said.
However, the residents would have to brave the conditions in coming days too, as the Met Office said hot and dry weather was expected in most parts of the country.
It added that severe heatwave conditions were likely to develop over southern Punjab, upper Sindh and southern/eastern parts of Balochistan from Monday.
The day temperatures may rise to 48-50 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country in coming days, leading to even higher demand for electricity.