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K-Electric fined Rs5m for unreliable power supply

Updated September 28, 2018

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Representatives of KE fail to provide any satisfactory response to the violations. — Image courtesy: KE's website
Representatives of KE fail to provide any satisfactory response to the violations. — Image courtesy: KE's website

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Thursday imposed a Rs5 million fine on K-Electric Limited for its failure to provide reliable power supply to consumers of Karachi on non-discriminatory basis.

The power regulator had taken notice of reports in Ramazan in 2017 that consumers were suffering prolonged hours of power cuts in Karachi. The Sindh High Court had also directed the regulator to go ahead with its (Nepra’s) previous orders to provide electricity to consumers on a non-discriminatory basis.

In March 2016, Nepra had ordered KE not to discriminate against consumer groups and ensure equitable power supply to all consumers. However, the process could not be implemented at the time because of court intervention which later allowed the regulator to proceed under the law.

On clearance from the court, the regulator constituted a committee to verify facts and implementation of March 25, 2016, orders. The committee visited the generation, transmission and distribution facilities of K-Electric from June 1 to 5, 2017, to monitor and verify loadshedding in different areas of Karachi, current generation capacity of KE and its utilisation, number of interruptions, faults and implementation of investment plans.

The committee submitted a comprehensive report to Nepra which raised serious concerns on KE’s performance. The regulator decided to initiate legal proceedings against K-Electric. Explanation followed by a show-cause notice was issued to KE. Two opportunities of hearing were also provided, in which the representatives of KE made their submissions but failed to provide any satisfactory response to the alleged violations.

The regulator concluded that different units of Bin Qasim Power Station-I tripped frequently during May 2017 owing to improper maintenance by KE. In addition, a huge number of unplanned interruptions of prolonged duration occurred due to KE’s weak and fragile distribution network.

All this cumulatively resulted in extended loadshedding, ranging from 14 to 16 hours in Karachi during May 2017.

Therefore, Nepra imposed a fine of Rs5m on K-Electric Limited due to non-compliance of performance standards, distribution code and direction of the regulator as given on March 25, 2016, order regarding provision of electricity to all consumers without any discrimination who meet the consumer eligibility criteria.

A spokesman for KE, Khiyam Siddique, said his company approach the regulator to reconsider its decision of imposing a fine. He said KE was a law-abiding and responsible organisation which ensured compliance with all respective regulations and guidelines.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2018