Centre holds KE responsible for Karachi outages

Updated 13 Jul 2020

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Ministry of Energy says govt provided additional gas, power to KE. — AFP/File
Ministry of Energy says govt provided additional gas, power to KE. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Energy on Sunday censured the K-Electric management for shifting responsibility to the government for power outages in Karachi.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Energy said the fact was that KE had not made necessary investment in its distribution system that was incapable to off-take additional electricity from the national grid despite repeated offers.

The ministry said the KE’s claims were totally wrong that non-supply of fuel by the federal government led to loadshedding in Karachi. It said the KE’s chief executive officer had conceded before a high-level meeting at Governor House in Karachi on July 11 that the federal government was providing 290 million cubic feet of gas per day (MMCFD) to the KE instead of the required 190 MMCFD.

Ministry of Energy says govt provided additional gas, power to KE

The spokesman also said the federal government was going out of the way to support the KE in the interest of the people of Karachi and would upgrade the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) transmission line for the supply of additional 300 megawatts to K-Electric. It said a summary was being moved by the power division to the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) to upgrade the NTDC transmission lines for provision of 300MW additional electricity to the KE.

The spokesman said it would take eight to 10 months to upgrade the transmission lines. Besides, it was being planned to operationalise the 500kV grid station at Dhabeji in March 2022 and 500kV grid stations of K-2/K-3 by summer 2023.

Referring to the Saturday meeting of the KE representatives with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Power Shahzad Qasim, the spokesman said the KE officials admitted before the federal government team that the K-Electric was receiving 100MMCFD additional gas. “Linking the issue of fuel supply with prolonged power outages is denying the actual situation and exposed the duplicity of the KE management” that confirmed during the meeting that 80pc of the country’s furnace oil was being provided to the KE with the special intervention of the petroleum division.

The spokesman said KE was resorting to unannounced loadshedding due to shortage in power generation as it faced 100MW to 200MW shortage of electricity in peak hours.

The spokesman reiterated the federal governmen’s previous offer of providing 1,000MW to the KE, and said the company would have to build a 500kV grid to receive the required amount of electricity.

He said the K-Electric officials had acknowledged that the federal government was providing 800MW of electricity instead of the committed 650MW. It was also verified by the KE officials that the company system could not take more than 750MW load.

It was manifestation of the fact that the K-Electric had failed to make the required investment in its power distribution system, the spokesman claimed.

“Setting aside fuel supply, the KE system was even not able to uplift electricity,” he added.

A KE spokesperson declined to respond to the Ministry of Energy’s statement.

However, previously K-Electric CEO Moonis Alvi had held the federal government responsible for the prolonged power outages, claiming that the company’s plants ran out of oil due to which it had to resort to loadshedding.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2020