KARACHI: As loashedding receded in recent years, the market for generators collapsed in the city of Karachi. But the latest row between K-Electric and its main fuel supplier, the Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGC), has reignited the generator market all over again.

Prices for the imported generator sets have surged by almost 30 per cent in some cases, receiving a triple boost from a sudden spike in demand and a simultaneous devaluation of the rupee, as well as a 10pc imposition of regulatory duties on imports.

“Buyers’ arrival in the market is 200pc higher in the last four to five days since loadshedding in many of K-Electric’s exempted areas has resumed,” owner of Sikandar and Co, Sikandar Shahzada said, adding that he is selling now at least 40-50 units a day as compared to 8-10 a day five days ago.

He said traders had already slowed down imports of one KVA to 10 KVA generators by at least 30pc as power cuts came down to zero in those localities where recoveries were high.

Prices of power machines surge as well

That situation has now reversed and residential generator demand is further propelled by the approach of examinations of ninth and 10 classes while O level exams are also starting soon. Besides, many buyers are lifting power gadgets fearing power crisis in Ramazan starting from third week of next month, Shahzada said.

Most of residential consumers are lifting one to 10 KVA generators on which many traders had increased prices by 10pc already, he said.

According to figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), country’s generator import bill had plunged by 19pc to $1.77 billion in July-February 2017-2018 from $2.18bn in same period last fiscal.

Sikandar said that heavy standby generators for high rise projects continue to arrive as many projects are in final stage of completion while others have already been completed.

He said there would be no shortage of generators as markets had unsold stocks which would be cleared in view of soaring demand.

President Pakistan Machinery Merchant Group (PMMG) Khurram Saigal, one of the largest importers of generator sets in the country, said sales have been impressive in the last five days, causing prices to climb by almost 30pc.

“Back in January and February, my sales were barely two or three sets per day, but now they are beyond 15-20 units,” he told Dawn, adding that this sort of spike is not due to seasonal demand alone.

He said ahead of current boom in demand, some traders had diverted towards other trades while many of them were cautiously importing generators due to lower demand after improvement in power supply and end of loadshedding in many areas. “The loadshedding after KE and SSGCL tussle over gas supply issue has brought back bright sales prospects,” he added.

Consumers were quite optimistic over government’s claim for zero loadshedding after bringing additional 10,000MW in the system with the start of various power plants, he added, but so far Karachi has been worst hit by power failures while the same is also going on in interior Sindh.

A generator dealer in F.B. Area said the price of generators has swelled by 23pc in just two months while prices would go up further in view of continuous fall in rupee value against the greenback.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2018

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