Governor’s intervention may bring respite for power-starved Karachi

Updated June 27, 2020

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PTI supporters hold a protest outside the KE head office on Friday.—Online
PTI supporters hold a protest outside the KE head office on Friday.—Online

KARACHI: Amid growing complaints of unannounced loadshedding in the prevailing hot and humid weather as well as consistent overbilling despite shrinking income of the pandemic-hit people, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail intervened on Friday and asked K-Electric (KE) authorities to fix the problem within next 24 hours, blaming the power utility for not investing in its system to improve its performance.

The fresh move came when the Sindh governor expressed his “displeasure and anger” in a meeting with the KE chief executive officer, Monis Abdullah Alvi, who called on him at the Governor House.

“The Sindh governor expressed his displeasure over the unannounced loadshedding in the city by KE and said that it was tantamount to severe injustice with the residents of Karachi,” said a statement issued by the Governor House after the meeting.

“The Sindh governor has directed the KE CEO to rectify the situation and provide relief to the citizens as soon as possible.”

KE chief assures Imran Ismail that crisis will be overcome in next 48 hours

He further said that additional gas was being provided to the KE by the federal government, but despite this it’s a matter of concern that such a situation emerges.

Governor Ismail during his meeting with the KE chief came up with facts and numbers which apparently negated the claims made by the power utility as an excuse to carry out its unannounced loadshedding plan.

Additional furnace oil to KE promised

He assured the KE management that additional furnace oil would be provided to the company from Hubco.

“The federal government is bound to provide 650 MW to K-Electric while for the convenience of the citizens of Karachi, the federal government is ready to provide additional 500 MW electricity. But due to non-investment in the system, the KE does not have capacity to handle extra 500 Megawatts,” the statement quoted the Sindh governor as saying.

The KE chief said that the Tapal and Gul Ahmed power plants were closed due to shortage of furnace oil. He said getting additional supply from the federal government would help overcome the ongoing power crisis.

“The KE chief assured that the issue of loadshedding would improve within the next 24 hours and the crisis would be overcome within the next 48 hours,” said the statement.

PTI protest

Meanwhile, leaders and legislators of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf staged a protest demonstration outside the KE’s headquarters, demanding an end to the power crisis in Karachi and strong action from the authorities concerned against “highhandedness” of the company.

Members of the Sindh Assembly Raja Azhar, Adeel Ahmed, Rabistan Khan and other leaders of the party while addressing the demonstrators warned that protests could erupt in every town and neighbourhood of Karachi if the KE did not improve its performance.

The leaders of the ruling party at the centre warned that they could launch a protest campaign against KE for power crisis and overbilling by the city’s sole electricity supply company.

“We cannot stay silent to become part of this crime. The performance of KE and its high-handedness is in fact reflection of a nexus between past rulers and capitalists. The PTI under the leadership of PM Imran Khan would not spare any corrupt and incompetent individual or group,” said PTI MPA Adeel Ahmed.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2020