islamabad - Unannounced long hours of blackouts and overbilling continue in the jurisdiction of Islamabad Electric Supply Company, right under the nose of Ministry of Water and Power and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority.

“The duration of power outages has increased up to 10 hours a day for the last many days,” said Subhan Khan, a resident of Dhoke Kala Khan.

It’s August and the humidity is at its peak. Residents living in small flats are worst hit by the long hours of blackouts, said Barkat Bibi, a resident of Laal Quarters. There is no electricity load shedding schedule. Supply of electricity can be suspended anytime and then one will have to wait for hours, added Bibi.

Due to unannounced load shedding, the people are facing severe water shortage, said Zakariya, another resident of the same area.

The residents were frustrated over unavailability of any complaint centre of Islamabad Electric Supply Company. “When we dial phone number printed on the bill to get our complaint registered, some operator gives us some other number and when the second number is dialled, no one picks up the phone,” said Shuakat Imran, another resident.

Many residents expressed their anger over excessive billing and alleged that after every two to three months, extra electricity units are added in their bills.

“The IESCO adds 100-200 units additionally in our bills after every two to three months. We are working class people and it is very difficult for us to pay extra amount,” said one Zafar Bakhtiar.

According to reports, many areas of the twin cities have been subjected to forced load shedding since the start of this monsoon season.

The IESCO officials admitted power outages but they cited the reason of technical fault behind these outages. “We receive many complains every day from every area. There was a technical fault at G-6 feeder, which resulted in blackouts in around 12 localities during the last few days. Soon we will trace the fault and the unannounced load shedding would end in many areas of the twin cities,” said a senior officer of IESCO requesting anonymity. He claimed that steps were under way to end complains of excessive billing.

According to the data of ministry of water and power, IESCO is the one of the most efficient distribution companies with 100 percent recovery.

The ministry officials claimed that the department has been producing surplus electricity and if IESCO was carrying out forced/unannounced load shedding, users should contact the complaint centre numbers printed on the backside of the consumer bill or they should consult the regulatory authority NEPRA for their grievances.

NEPRA spokesperson Ayesha Tassaduq said that the authority addresses all the complaints and guarantees consumer’s protection.

She said that consumers need not to visit the authority office and should send a written application by post.