Double whammy for Karachiites as scorching heat, power outage add to woes

The hustle and bustle of Karachi roads during a blackout as seen in an undated photo. — Reuters
  • Local populace struggles as persistent blackouts add to their distress.
  • Temperature soars to 38.2°C in Karachi, exceeding typical levels by 2.4°C.
  • Unsettled power bills cited as reason for scheduled outages by KE.

The city of Karachi offers no relief to its residents, who are grappling with the onslaught of severe heatwaves coupled with frequent electricity cut-offs, a scenario that the city’s power supplier explains as a necessary measure due to some customers not settling their dues.

Temperatures soared to a blistering 38.2°C, which is 2.4°C higher than usual for Karachi, with humidity levels peaking at 62% on Thursday. As reported by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), the intensity of the heat was amplified by the humidity, simulating a suffocating 40°C environment.

Locals confided to Geo that not even areas normally exempt from power cuts have been spared, and the duration of the outages has increased in other localities.

“The costs are unchanged. It’s unbearably hot. Words fail to convey my discomfort. My skin conditions flare up when I’m unable to use the air conditioning,” revealed Rubina Mirza, a 60-year-old educator residing in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, to Geo.tv.

A homemaker voiced frustration over her responsible payment of bills, yet still suffering power cuts as other customers sharing her electric feeder do not settle theirs.

“The relentless blackouts in this sweltering heat have taken a toll on my psychological well-being. The constant worry about the next power failure and its restoration looms over me,” lamented Sahar Masroor, a 40-year-old from Korangi 6.

“I fulfill my responsibility and pay my electricity bill promptly, yet I find myself penalized due to KE’s inability to manage bill collection and prevent electricity theft. It’s collectively unfair and simply unacceptable,” she added.

Government officials in Sindh have conveyed their concerns over the extended blackouts across the region, with one mentioning possible legal action against Karachi-Electric (KE) should fatalities from heatstroke occur as a result of the outages.

Residents from various Karachi neighborhoods, including Korangi, Orangi Town, Landhi, Gulshan-e-Maymar, Liaquatabad, Mehmoodabad, Manzoor Colony, Sarjani, and New Karachi, reported experiencing power disruptions for over 12 hours.

In several districts such as Keamari, Lyari, Gadap, Quaidabad, and Safoora, the period of blackout has extended past 10 hours.

In defense, a spokesperson for KE stated that 71% of the city has access to non-stop electrical supply and directed individuals to their official website for the loadshedding schedule.

“The level of loadshedding is linked to the payment of bills. Areas with higher rates of non-payment experience more frequent power cuts,” he justified the power company’s stance.

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