Fortunately for cities like Lahore, the weather has been forgiving and rather pleasant–an unusual phenomenon in the month of May. This has meant that electricity demand has gone down significantly, leading to reduced pressure on the national grid. Despite this, load shedding continues unabated since successive governments have failed to manage what seems to be a permanent shortfall. The reason for this is unapparent, especially since our generating capacity has surpassed national demand. Taking a few measures focused on improving the distribution system ought to do the trick, but leaders lack the political will to turn this crisis around.
According to a new statement by the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco), at least four hours of load shedding should be expected in areas that report a 20 percent loss in aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses. In order to manage such an approach, Lesco created divisions according to a Load Management Programme and created Category I, II, III and IV areas so that appropriate power outages could be determined. The first two can expect two hours of power outages per day, and the rest can expect four to five.
One must understand that these authorities also work through the severe constraints put upon them, and that they aim to distribute effects equitably. However, there is no excuse that justifies power outages, especially at a time when the country is producing more than it can consume. As of right now, Lesco’s electricity demand stands at 3800-3900MW alone, against a supply of just 3400-3500MW. It barely caters to the city’s demands. This means that residents will have to face extended load shedding, as will industries and businesses. This means that there is a heightened risk of the loss of business activity because of compulsory outages, something we cannot afford in an ailing economy.
There is an immediate need for the government to step in and fix the problem at its source. If the issue lies with distribution companies, they must be fixed regardless of whether that means updating, maintaining and reconstructing the system entirely. The energy sector is the most expensive sector for the country, and eliminating losses in any capacity would entail that we recover some ground economically. We have to harness the potential we have in the country the right way and through neglecting this sector, we risk eroding our future.