Minister blames Centre for power cuts in Karachi

Updated February 12, 2019

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"The provincial government has no role in containing the ongoing loadshedding by K-Electric," says Imtiaz Shaikh.— File
"The provincial government has no role in containing the ongoing loadshedding by K-Electric," says Imtiaz Shaikh.— File

KARACHI: Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh on Monday informed the lawmakers that the provincial government had no role in containing the ongoing loadshedding by K-Electric as the power utility was independently working under the administrative control of the federal government.

Furnishing a statement and giving replies to the lawmakers’ written and oral queries during Question Hour, he said the power utility was privatised by the federal government in 2006 with the core objective to reduce losses and provide relief to the people of Karachi.

The minister said that power generation was affected by the shortage of gas. He quoted the power utility as saying that it was investing $450 million for upgrading the power distribution system.

“The power utility claims that it has invested two billion dollars, added 1,057MW since its privatisation and reduced losses from 36 per cent to 20 per cent,” the minister said, adding that these claims needed to be verified by the federal government.

Mr Shaikh claimed that 75pc of the city was now free of loadshedding. He said the provincial government was running a campaign to make the people aware about electricity shortage.

Stressing the need for conserving electricity, the minister said that the government was educating the people on how to save electricity. He added that the provincial government was working on promoting the use of LED bulbs through the Directorate of Power Development (PDS) as per the guidelines of the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority for creating awareness about efficient use of energy. “In order to circulate awareness in the masses, the PDS in collaboration with Indus University had held a joint seminar in May 2018,” the minister added.

Answering a question asked by MPA Arif Mustafa Jatoi of the Grand Democratic Alliance, he said that at present the provincial government did not have plans to give subsidy on the sale of LED bulbs. However, the minister said, the provincial government was planning to establish a full-fledged Directorate of Sindh Energy Efficiency and Conservation for creating awareness as well as enforcing energy efficiency and conservation.

In reply to a question asked by Mr Jatoi, he said the federal government had three directors on K-Electric’s board of directors and the provincial government had requested that at least one director from Sindh should be included to monitor the operational capabilities of KE. However, he said the request had not yet been accepted.

Mr Shaikh informed the house that the provincial government had established a 100MW gas turbine power project for the supply of electricity to KE and for this a 95-kilometre transmission line was also built by the Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company.

In addition to this, he said, the provincial government had allocated Rs1,584 million for the installation of infrastructure for electrification of villages in the KE-licensed area.

The minister further said that the provincial energy department with the support of the World Bank had launched a Sindh Solar Energy Project under which all public sector buildings would be solarised through a rooftop solar programme within five years.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2019