KE attributes prolonged power outages in metropolis to shortage of furnace oil

June 25, 2020

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KE said that peak demand had crossed 3,450 megawatt because of the hot and humid weather being experienced by the city. — AFP/File
KE said that peak demand had crossed 3,450 megawatt because of the hot and humid weather being experienced by the city. — AFP/File

K-Electric (KE) on Thursday attributed the prolonged power outages in the metropolis to a shortage of furnace oil, as lawmakers in the National Assembly questioned the role of the power utility.

In a statement, the power utility said that peak demand had crossed 3,450 megawatt because of the hot and humid weather being experienced by the city.

"Furnace oil is not available in the market to the level required, resulting in up to 800 mt shortfall daily. This has been in the news and the government is taking action by allowing imports.

"Also, a reduction of 50 mmcfd in regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) by the Sui Southern Gas Company has further added to the challenge."

The statement added that along with these factors, power from the wind corridor was also affected, resulting in the reduction of KE's power supply from 3,150MW to 2,800MW.

It added that the government had decided to import furnace oil and the situation was "likely to normalise" in the coming days.

On Wednesday, the power utility said that "violent mobs" had caused damage to KE's grid station and offices.

"This endangers our teams and makes our job more difficult. We are working 24/7 to supply maximum power despite ongoing fuel shortage. Please bear with us at this challenging time."

MQM stages walkout in NA over power outages

Meanwhile, MQM lawmakers staged a walkout in the National Assembly on Thursday over prolonged power outages in Karachi and Hyderabad.

Speaking on a point of order, MQM MNA Usama Qadri said that the KE and the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) have added to people's misery due to prolonged load-shedding.

"On one hand, the government is imposing a 'smart lockdown' and asking the people to stay at home, and on the other, KE and Hesco are forcing people to come out on the streets.

"Hyderabad is witnessing temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius and the people are on the roads protesting against Hesco."

He stated that whenever the issue was raised with Energy Minister Omar Ayub, he would say that he was powerless as KE is a private entity.

"KE has destroyed Karachi's infrastructure. It says it is not getting furnace oil, where is the government? Where will the 30 million people of Karachi and Hyderabad go if the government can't control a company?"

He added that instead of providing relief to the people, KE was overcharging consumers. "Over the government's failure to provide relief to the people of Karachi, we are staging a walkout," he said.

After the walkout, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser referred the matter to the concerned committee.

Nepra takes notice of load-shedding, over-billing

A day earlier, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) took notice of complaints regarding continuing unannounced load-shedding in Karachi and directed the power utility to submit a detailed report in this regard.

In a statement, Nepra also noted that inflated electricity bills were being charged to consumers. "Strict directions have been given to K-Electric to take remedial measures and submit a detailed report to Nepra immediately."

Many took to the streets on Wednesday to protest the power outages, blocking main roads and highways to bring the issue to the attention of the relevant authorities.

Protesters said that power outages were also triggering a water crisis, adding to the burden on the common man.