LAHORE - Even after the government increased electricity tariff manifold, putting extra-burden on the already inflation-hit public, the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) has again resorted to 10 to 12 hours of loadshedding across the Punjab. The worst power outages on Thursday forced the people to take to streets here in various parts of the provincial metropolis as the 12-hours loadshedding paralysed the routine life in the City besides multiplying the miseries of the people. The massive power outages badly affected all segment of the society particularly the traders, shopkeepers, office-goers, students, businesses and even the under treatment patients at various public and private hospitals. Traders said the business activities came to a halt across the Punjab Capital due to excessive and unscheduled power outages. The massive electricity loadshedding also forced the shopkeepers and traders to switch over to alternate arrangements like generators and UPS, which also increase the cost of doing business. The local residents said that 10 to 12 hours unannounced power outages is disturbing the life throughout the provincial metropolis. There was five-hour continuous power outage in Johar Town on Thursday, which led to water shortage, as we had to wait for eight hours to clean the dishes and clothes, Mrs Usman told The Nation by phone. The Lahorites say the loadshedding is making their lives more miserable as the housewives have to burn candles to cook food during the night hours. The congested residential localities like Islampura, Sanda, Samanabad, Iqbal Town, Sabzazar, Johar Town, Wahdat Colony, Kot Lakhpat, Shalimar and Baghbanpura areas are the most affected vicinities, where LESCO has resorted to 12-hours breakdown. But the posh neighbourhoods of Model Town, Township, Garden Town, Muslim Town, Gulberg and Defence have also fell victim to the most unwanted routine. We were considering that the people would not be subjected to power outages this year as the government had announced to end loadshedding by December 2009. The so-called PPP-led government also increased power tariff manifold. But the unannounced loadshedding has again become the order of the day. This is very unfortunate, Kashif Mumtaz, a resident of Samanabad said. It (loadshedding) often results in water shortage as the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) cannot run its tubewells during the outages, Maqbool Ahmed, a resident of Sabzazar said. A housewife Khurshid Bibi of Iqbal Town was of the view that they were suffering a two-hour power shutdown after every one hour. Naeem Khan, a tailor by profession, said that the massive loadshedding is badly affecting his business, as he is unable to complete the orders on time. Often we have to face wrath of customers as we could not complete order on time due to loadshedding, he added. Nasrin Bibi, a resident of Icchra, said they were left with no other option but to burn candle during the night hours. I tried to contact the Lesco officials to know why such massive unannounced loadshedding had unearthed again. But despite repeated attempts no one was available at the complaints numbers, mentioned on the electricity bills, she said. Afzal Ahmed of Garden Town said the renewed spell of outages, especially in the wee hours, was annoying and demanded the officials concerned to at least announce a schedule for loadshedding. I was taking a shower in a hurry as I have to leave for office on early Thursday. My wife was ironing my clothes when suddenly there was a power shutdown and I had to wait for three hours to iron the clothes, he said. He further said people were expecting that they had been relieved of facing the loadshedding menace after the government increased power tariff considerably, but the power outages were there again to haunt them. He further said people were fed up with unannounced power shutdowns. The government has notified about 47 per cent increase in power tariff but (authorities) still have failed to ensure uninterrupted power supply, which is injustice with the helpless consumers, he commented. Sources in the Lesco said they had no schedule for loadshedding. The senior officials had directed the management of all the grid stations in the City to follow the directives of the National Control Centre and resort to loadshedding when it is necessary, an official said, seeking anonymity. On the other hand, a good number of people staged strong protest demonstrations in various parts of the province and chanted anti-government slogans. The protesters also condemned the Ministry of Water and Power for its failure to improve power supply despite the lapse of two years. They said the government has badly failed to deliver and the present rulers should be taken to task, as they could not fulfil the promises, made during the election campaign. Meanwhile, a LESCO spokesperson said that LESCO is carrying out 5 hours load management in urban areas, 8 hours district/city headquarters and 10 hours in rural areas to bridge the gap between demand and supply of power. However, he said that sometimes RCC shuts power from grid stations to save the system from any colossal loss. However, LESCO tries not to resort load management in the area wherein forced loadshedding has to be carried out.