As temperatures rise in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab, residents are experiencing frequent power cuts, both scheduled and unscheduled, leading to miserable living conditions during the scorching summer season. Despite the power utility company’s official load management schedule indicating only two hours of load shedding, residents report enduring outages lasting 6-8 hours.
Power consumers have voiced their grievances, highlighting the hardships caused by the erratic power supply. Muhammad Faiz, a citizen, expressed frustration with the Lahore Electricity Supply Company (Lesco), accusing it of sending inflated bills while failing to meet service standards. He noted a significant increase in load shedding across urban and rural areas of the province since the recent rise in temperatures.
Scheduled and unscheduled power cuts are now prevalent throughout Lahore, accompanied by complaints of power fluctuations, voltage drops, and frequent tripping. Najam-ul-Hassan, another resident, shared that his neighborhood of Township experiences electricity load shedding almost every other hour, despite registering complaints with the Lesco helpline. In addition to the power cuts, areas are also facing water shortages due to the interruptions in electricity supply.
Citizens are disappointed with the government, particularly the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which came into power promising economic relief for the common people but has failed to deliver. Despite doubling power tariffs, the government has been unable to alleviate the burden on ordinary citizens or control the rising prices of commodities.
During a recent meeting with Lesco officials, business leaders raised concerns about electricity theft, high line losses, and the negative impact of load shedding on the business and trade community. They called for immediate action and urged the power utility company to establish a dedicated helpline for industrial consumers and traders to prioritize their complaints.
Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, a business leader, highlighted that Pakistan has the highest electricity tariffs in the region but businesses continue to suffer from frequent power outages, severely affecting their operations.
An official from the power utility company revealed that there is currently a significant gap of over 6,500MW between power generation and electricity demand in the country. Despite a demand of approximately 28,000MW, the total power generation is just above 21,000MW. The breakdown includes 7,037MW from hydropower, 9,856MW from thermal power, 1,119MW from wind power, 120MW from solar power, and 3,164MW from nuclear power.
The ongoing power cuts and water shortages in Lahore reflect the pressing need for improved infrastructure and effective measures to bridge the gap between power generation and demand. The government must address these challenges promptly to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply and mitigate the adverse effects on residents and businesses.