KARACHI: As K-Electric has once again started testing the patience of Karachiites with prolonged outages amid sizzling temperature and humid weather conditions, the authorities finally took notice of the growing anger of the people, mainly on social media, when Sindh Governor Imran Ismail summoned the power utility chief to his office and asked him to resolve the crisis.

The Sindh governor also got in touch with Islamabad to seek support of the federal government to resolve the issue which has been forcing hundreds of thousands of Karachiites to spend sleepless nights for over a week. Though there was no immediate reaction from the KE to the “directives” issued by the Sindh governor, many still doubt any relief despite assurance from the authorities.

“Sindh Governor Imran Ismail while expressing strong anger over the ongoing long and unannounced loadshedding, summoned KE chief Moonis Alavi to Governor House,” said a Governor House statement. “The governor directed managing director of K-Electric Moonis Alvi to personally look into the ongoing prolonged and unannounced electricity breakdowns in different parts of Karachi and address the grievances of the citizens immediately. The Sindh governor expressed serious concerns over power breakdowns in different parts of the metropolis.”

Mr Ismail also made telephonic contact with federal Minister for Energy Mohammad Hammad Azhar and told him about the existing power crisis in the city. He sought the federal government’s support and called for improving the situation regarding electricity supply in the city.

Though any impact of the notice from the governor and assurance from the power utility chief is keenly awaited, Karachiites continued to suffer outages and prolonged power supply suspension across the city. Those living in low-income areas suffered the most mainly in the name of maintenance and load management to bridge the supply-demand gap through loadshedding.

Though KE insists that power supply operation remains normal, it uses the term “local faults” to keep itself clear of any direct blame of power cuts.

Hammad Hasan in the Saadi Town area of Karachi receives text messages almost every night from the power utility “regretting” for keeping his neighbourhood’s power supply suspended for hours to run “maintenance operations” in the area.

“What kind of maintenance is this –– no one can understand,” he said, showing a series of text messages being received every day for almost a week. In Malir’s D-1 area residents say they are living without power supply at night for unknown reasons.

“When we contact the KE call centre, they just register a complaint and hang up,” says Saira Mustafa, an area resident.

Similar complaints were also received from other areas as well which included Lyari, localities in Saddar and Burnes Road, Railway Colony, Shah Faisal Colony, Orangi Town and Korangi.

Even areas that are “exempted from loadshedding” are facing the same crisis. They include Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, North Karachi, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, and PECHS.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2021

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