Emeute de l’électricité à Karachi mai 2009

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Power riots erupt in many Karachi localities

By Shamim-ur-Rahman
Sunday, 17 May, 2009

KARACHI: Power riots broke out in many parts of the city on Saturday as the Karachi Electric Supply Company failed to provide electricity for about 15 hours in some localities.

The utility was unable to rectify the increasing number of faults caused by massive tripping of feeders and pole-mounted transformers (PMTs) in different areas of the city.

As angry protesters took to the streets, the coordination committee of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement strongly deplored the private management’s ‘criminal negligence, which has caused undeclared and prolonged power outages.’

The MQM committee demanded that the utility immediately be taken into government control.

Angry and traumatised KESC consumers blocked Shahrah-i-Pakistan at Ayesha Manzil to protest against the lack of power supply to their locality for ‘about 24 hours’.

They burned old tyres, threw stones and chanted slogans against continued power outages in the city, especially at Ayesha Manzil, Federal B Area and the adjoining localities.

Police resorted to a baton-charge and teargas shelling to disperse the protesters and open the road. The demonstrators alleged that they were getting power only for a few hours everyday, and they have to endure power breakdowns and load-shedding most of the time. They said load-shedding has made their lives ‘unbearable’, especially in this hot and humid weather.

After suffering from a lack of electricity for more than 15 hours, the protestors had first visited the KESC complaint centre in the area, but found no one to listen to their grievances or to address the problem.

Enraged by the indifferent attitude of the concerned KESC staff, they marched on the main road and set old tyres on fire, chanting slogans against the utility and the ‘failure of the government’ in compelling the Abaraj-led management to ensure the uninterrupted supply of electricity.

KESC customers also protested near the KESC service centre at Shamsi Centre in Shah Faisal and Gulistan-e-Jauhar. Similar incidents were also reported from Malir-Khokrapar, New Karachi and Orangi. Residents of Tauheed Commercial area also complained that they were without electricity for about 15 hours, while parts of Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Gulshan-i-Iqbal suffered from a lack of electricity for about 10 hours.

The coordination committee of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, meanwhile, in a statement released on Saturday, slammed the management of the privatised utility for its refusal to purchase an adequate quantity of furnace oil and gas to keep electricity generation at an optimum level. This was despite the fact that customers were being issued hefty bills every month.

The MQM coordination committee termed the ongoing load-shedding ‘a conspiracy against the people of Karachi and all industrial and business activity in the metropolis.’

The coordination committee maintained that the right to peaceful protest belonged to everyone, and that the people of Karachi were exercising this right. It regretted that the KESC management was ‘not concerned about the people’s problems.’

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The MQM coordination committee held that continuing power outages would not only adversely affect the industrial hub of the country, but could also lead to a law and order situation. It maintained that the KESC management ‘will be responsible for any such situation’.

The coordination committee also demanded that President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf take serious and immediate notice of the plight and anger of the people of the metropolis and put the KESC under government control.

Separately, City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal offered the KESC management all ‘kinds of help and cooperation for the resolution of the electricity crisis in the city’ during a phone call to KESC CEO Naveed Ismail.

While expressing concern over the power crisis that has currently engulfed the city, he pointed out that power outages had caused citizens to face acute problems.

Utility fails to meet demand

Meanwhile, the utility was unable to generate about 900MW from its own resources, while the demand stood at 2,300MW. It procured 100MW from IPPs, 80MW from Kanupp, and about 500MW from Wapda, thus suffering a shortage of about 800 MW. Official sources insisted that only 315MW of load-shedding took place throughout the day.According to the EHT report of the KESC, the utility was resorting to load-shedding of one hour each at least five times a day in residential cum commercial areas due to the shortage of electricity.

There is not supposed to be any load-shedding in industrial areas, but the situation on the ground tells a different story, with several industrial units reporting that load-shedding is indeed taking place.

In the context of system constraints and outages, ‘a flashover in Trafo’s 11kV incoming trolley and 11kV feeders caused tripping at 3.45am at BOC. With this, the 132kV Pipri West /BOC and Dhabeji circuits also tripped. The BOC grid was affected in the process.’

According to the official report, ‘the 220kV KCR/Lalazar circuit 2 tripped at 4.40am, though no load was affected. The 220kV BQPS/KCR circuit 2 also tripped at 4.10am, with no load being affected. The 220kV Baldia/Mauripur circuit tripped at 11.40pm on Friday. It affected Mauripur, Liaquatabad and Nazimabad grids, normalised through an alternate 132kV circuit. The 66kV Malir/Gadap circuit was tripped at 11.29pm on Friday due to theft attempts at two different locations. The Gadap grid remains affected by this.

‘The 132kV Orangi /Valika circuit tripped at 6.55pm on Friday and has not been repaired yet. Special Steel and Javedan cement are affected by this.

‘The 132kV Korangi West/Baloch Circuit tripped on April 25. The yellow phase cross arm was broken at Tower No. 50. Gizri/Baloch portion has been normalised by removing the x-jumpers. At the Creek City grid, 31.5/40 MVA Trafo has been tripped since 30th Apr. The job is with M/s DHA.

‘The 220kV Baldia/Mauripur circuit 1 has been tripped since December 5, 2008, due to a cable portion fault. The cable portion has been isolated. Circuit is energized from Baldia end only. 132kV SGT/Lyari circuit is off from SGT due to low oil pressure in the red phase cable core. Load is on the 132kV Queens Road/Old circuit. No load is affected,’ the KESC maintains.

Protracted power outage sparks riots in Karachi

Saturday, May 16, 2009

KARACHI: A group of people traumatized by persistent power outage went on burning tyres, blocking roads, pelting stones and voicing slogans in protest against the continued power outage in the city, especially in their area at Aisha Manzil, Feederab B Area here.

The demonstrators said that they were getting electricity supply only for few hours, as power breakdown and load shedding continues most of the time, which has made their life unbearable, especially in this hot and humid weather in the city.

Police baton charged and fired teargas shells for dispersing the demonstrators and restoring traffic on the Super Highway

Power outages continue to haunt citizens


Saturday, May 16, 2009


By By our correspondent


Residents of Karachi braved yet another spell of power outages on a hot and humid Friday, as the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) reported a maximum power load shedding of 300 megawatts (MW).

The Meteorological Department recorded 38 degree Celsius maximum temperature and 58 per cent humidity on Friday, while forecasting another hot and humid Saturday.

The power supply situation has worsened to the extent that small traders and businessmen of the city have warned of a sit-in at the Sindh Governor’s House and Chief Minister’s House if the situation persists further.

A KESC spokesperson said that demand for electricity in the city touched the 2350 MW mark, leaving the power utility to resort to maximum load-shedding of 300 MWs. She said that only Unit No.1 of the Bin Qasim Thermal Power Station had been under maintenance, while no electricity feeders tripped in the city. Independent sources however claimed that power shortfall was over 500 MWs, with the Bin Qasim power station producing just 810 MWs instead of desired the cumulative power capacity of 1160 MWs. As a result, numerous locatilities experienced persistent spells of load-shedding till late in the night, despite the fact that Wapda has been providing over 500 MWs electricity to KESC.

Several residential areas endured up to four spells of load-shedding by 8 pm, and each spell lasted for over an hour. Besides continuous spells of load-shedding, residents in Malir, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Gulshan-e-Jamal, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Federal B Area, Nazimabad, Saddar, and other areas have been experiencing power breakdowns of prolonged duration due to tripping in power supply systems.

In several other areas, the KESC failed to maintain normalised three-phase power supply. Voltage fluctuations have also become severe, with complaints of unsteady voltage supply pouring in from several residential areas.

Chaudhry Aziz, a resident of C-1 Area Cantonment Bazaar, Malir Cantonment, told The News that till 7:30 pm on Friday they had been doing without electricity for 20 hours. He said that numerous attempts to contact local and centralised complaint centres of the KESC proved futile. “The operators at the KESC 118 complaint centre always give a new complaint number for my problem whenever I’ve called them”, he said, adding that nobody at the local or centralised complaint centre could say with authority when the power supply would be restored to his area.

Meanwhile, the All-Pakistan Organisation of Small Traders and Cottage Industries staged a demonstration against prolonged and frequent power outages outside Nayyab Mosque in Liaquatabad. The organisation’s Karachi Division President, Mahmood Hamid, called upon the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo moto cognisance of the worsening power supply situation in Karachi.

He said the KESC had been doing nothing to improve power supply situation but owing to its negligence and poor performance the national economy and business and trade sectors of the country had been suffering heavily. He said that there was no justification of raising electricity tariff and sending inflated power bills to domestic and commercial consumers when there is no control on the situation of unabated load-shedding.
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~ par Alain Bertho sur 17 mai 2009.

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