KARACHI: The federal government is seriously considering several proposals to improve the power supply system in Karachi and one of the proposals includes the option to take over the management control of K-Electric amid growing complaints of its failure to meet the challenge after recent heavy rains.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar on Saturday met the KE management at the company’s head office and then briefed the media about the reason of his visit as well as the plans being discussed in the power corridors.
“Right now, the focus of whole Pakistan is on Karachi,” he said while talking to reporters outside the KE headquarters. “We have noted several problems Karachi is facing and power supply is among the key issues the city has been facing for the past several years. The same issue was recently highlighted in the Supreme Court and today’s meeting was part of the same Karachi development exercise.”
He said that he had met the senior management of the KE, discussed issues raised by the Supreme Court and exchanged proposals for improvement in the performance.
Asad Umar justifies nearly 26pc hike in electricity tariff for Karachi
Among other development projects for Karachi, he said it was also decided in his talks with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah that both the federal and provincial government would sit together for a durable solution of the city’s electricity crisis.
“Now, whatever we have discussed with the KE management and the provincial government would be presented before the prime minister,” said Mr Umar. “We need to seriously look into the option whether we should allow the current management of the KE to continue running the affairs or the federal government needs to come forward to take matters into its control.”
Growing protests by political parties, heightening anger among consumers and persistent poor performance of the KE during the summer attracted the attention of the authorities. The rains further eroded the weak power supply infrastructure of the power utility which failed to restore power in many localities blaming flooding behind the delay.
The warning from the federal government came after days of protests by political parties, including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf which rules the centre. The consistent poor performance of the KE pushed the residents of even posh areas like DHA and Clifton to take to the streets calling upon the authorities for immediate relief amid prolonged loadshedding, outages and overbilling.
Hike in power tariff justified
The federal minister, however, justified the recent increase in the electricity tariff for Karachi by the National Electric and Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) saying the government had nothing to do with the decision of the independent regulatory body.
“There’s a reason behind the recent hike in the tariff for Karachi power consumers,” he said. “More than two years ago, the power tariff was increased across the country but some industrialists and businessmen of Karachi approached the court and the tariff was not raised for Karachi. Now that court matter is disposed of and tariff was increased for Karachi as well.”
The federal government had last week approved a 26 per cent increase in electricity tariff for consumers in Karachi with immediate effect. The Economic Coordination Committee approved the summary moved by the power division for the rationalisation of 11 quarterly adjustments of KE from July 2016 to March 2019.
Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2020