Power Off!

21 05 2009

Few days ago I was talking about the unpleasant heat in Karachi and how KESC – Karachi Electrical Supply Company is contributing to it by cutting the power several times a day. Meanwhile, the heat issue somehow faded as the temperatures in Karachi dropped with 5′-10′ Celsius making it easy to survive now. But KESC, which i think that really stands for Karachi Electricity Stinks like Crap”, manages to exceeds its past performances by cutting the power in a more drastic manner – yesterday, between 4 PM and 2 AM – we had only one hour and 1/2 of effective electricity.

For you to get a better understanding of the electricity issue in Karachi is very important to know that this huge town is consuming more electricity than KESC can produce and distribute. So, how does KESC solves the problem? The answer is simple: load-shedding. Now, what is load-shedding? I never heard about this term until I arrived in Pakistan so I think it deserves a little explanation:

According to wikianswers.com load shedding normally used in industrial, large commercial, and utility operations, is monitoring electric usage continuously (usually by automated instrumentation) and shutting down certain pre-arranged electric loads or devices if a certain upper threshold of electric usage is approached. In English, this means that the city of Karachi never has power across all areas of the city at the same time. Let’s say that Karachi is split into 20 areas – 15 of them would have electrical power right now and 5 won’t have electrical power right now – and these areas are rotated at a 1 hour interval approximately. Thus, it results in 4-5 power cuts per day/ one hour each.

Now, you can easily imagine that KESC is not the most popular company in Pakistan. This load shedding issue is pretty serious sometimes as it can result in violent protests around different parts of the city – spontaneous or not – that often have bad consequences over the public safety. Moreover, you would think that this energy issue would make people more aware of the problem, encouraging them to save electricity when it is not required, to close the fans when they are not needed, to shut off lights during day-time… well there’s a long way until that would happen, it’s a long way until people will realize that is easier to save power than to burn tires while protesting.

If you ever think to come to Pakistan, and I suggest you do, take this little problem into account and make sure that where you’re staying there is an auxiliary generator ;). If there’s none, don’t worry, at some point you will get used to this issue and you will find some other stuff to do in order for the time to pass (like joining a anti-KESC protest, for instance :P).

While writing this post I had to make an 1 hour break.. wanna guess why?

Hot… extremely hot!

16 05 2009

The title unfortunately refers to the Karachi weather in these last days, days of torture and pain, of sweat and sleep deprivation. When I arrived in Pakistan the transition was from 0′-10′ Celsius back in Romania to 25′-30′ Celsius and still I thought it was hot… I was wrong, way wrong. 30′ C is a reasonable temperature, even cozy compared to the genocide that is happening right now.

The temperature reaches 40′-45′ C on a daily basis, but still this is not all. Combine that temperature with an humidity index of 80% here in Karachi and it will result in a heat parameter of 50′-55′ Celsius – meaning that this is the actual temperature your body is feeling (Heat index). As you can see, since I started to experience such an extreme weather I  started to become more updated with Meteorology as a science, otherwise a mystery to me.

I have AC at work so the office is quite pleasant, it’s like heaven compared with the outside hell; at home my room is “equipped” with a ceiling fan which makes the living there somehow bearable but thanks to the KESC – Karachi Electrical Supply Corporation the power goes off 4 to 5 times a day (1 hour each time). This kind of unhealthy jokes coming from KESC transforms my room into a huge oven, wakes me up in the middle of the night and even gets people out of their houses into the streets, on the roofs so they can have a good sleep at night (the picture is pretty revealing for this issue) transforming the sidewalks into huge open-air dorms.
Hot… extremely hot. I don’t even want to get into the mosquitoes discussion.