KARACHI: Prolonged and extended duration of loadshedding up to over 12 hours in parts of the city in the sweltering weather continued to pile miseries on people even on Sunday, the weekly closed holiday, as the power outages also led to acute shortage of water making people’s life miserable.

People from across the city called Dawn offices to tell that there was no respite in power outages even on Sunday when there was substantial decrease in power consumption by commercial and industrial units in the city.

A resident from Garden said that that two-hour loadshedding after interval of as many hours was still continuing in the area leaving people, including women and children to face extreme hardships in hot weather. “The KE has been sending excessive bills to us despite such prolong loadshedding,” he said, asking why excessive bills were being sent when there was no uninterrupted power supply.

Reports pouring in from parts of the city suggested that there was no respite in four to 12 hours load-shedding power adding to woes of citizen, who condemned the power utility to frequent power outages.

Murad orders KE to ensure uninterrupted electricity

Residents said that the power utility was disconnecting the power supply for four to 12 hours in their localities.

A Model Colony resident said that lucky were the areas where one-hour loadshedding was being carried out four times in a day. “We face 12 hours loadshedding, three to four hours at least four times,” he added.

On Saturday, the power utility had hinted that it would have to ration power supply as the upsurge of fuel cost in global markets was negatively impacting its capacity to purchase and generate affordable power.

The KE had already said that the loadshedding in the city was expected to increase to 17 hours after the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) informed it of reducing the gas supply due to the non-payment of bills.

The billing claims and disputes between the power and gas utilities seem to have been adding to the woes of people, forcing Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to intervene. He met KE chief executive Moonis Alvi on Saturday night and asked him to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity to the people of Karachi.

After the meeting, Mr Alvi tweeted: “Grateful to Hon. Chief Minister Syed Murad A. Shah for hearing us out on fuel supply issues, overall economic pressures, KE’s cash flow constraints, and for pledging to resolve them in the interest of Karachi.”

A KE spokesperson said that the power utility was facing issues in paying the bill due to a five-fold increase in the price of gas. “The KE is generating 500MW of electricity with RLNG. If the gas supply stops, the company will fail to generate 500MW of electricity which could lead to 17 hours of loadshedding,” he added.

The power utility in a statement said that the staggering upsurge of fuel costs in global markets was negatively impacting the KE’s capacity to purchase and generate affordable power for millions of customers residing in Karachi and its outskirts.

It said that the KE was engaged with fuel suppliers and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) at present negotiating for flexible payment timelines in this extraordinarily tough situation.

“In extenuating circumstances, KE may have to ration power supply if supplies of fuel are curtailed,” the power utility said.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2022

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