No relief from loadshedding as KE backtracks on promise to govt

Published June 30, 2022
An area in district South plunges into darkness due to loadshedding carried out by K-Electric on Wednesday night.—Shakil Adil / White Star
An area in district South plunges into darkness due to loadshedding carried out by K-Electric on Wednesday night.—Shakil Adil / White Star

KARACHI: People perspiring profusely in sweltering weather may not be able to take a sigh of relief in the coming days as the K-Electric on Wednesday said that it was “compelled to conduct loadshedding even during the night hours” due to non-operation of two power plants because of lack of indigenous gas.

Hours after the power utility gave assurances to the provincial authorities at two separate meetings that it would end night loadshedding in residential areas and concrete steps were being taken to eliminate the menace across the city, the power utility announced that two power plants capable of 200 megawatts remained non-operational for the past many months due to non-supply of indigenous gas and the utility was compelled to conduct loadshedding even during the night hours as the shortfall was persisting round-the-clock.

The assurances had been given by the power utility in separate meetings — one chaired by Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh and the other by commissioner of Karachi Muhammad Iqbal Memon who had been directed by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to summon KE’s top management to resolve the issue of severe loadshedding in the financial hub of the country.

In his meeting with the energy minister in the afternoon on Wednesday, KE chief executive officer Moonis Alvi assured that there would be improvement in the situation of loadshedding across the city in the next 24 hours, while Chief Distribution Officer Amir Zia in his meeting with the commissioner had also assured that there would be no more loadshedding during night hours.

Earlier in day, KE assured ministers of no outages at night; later on conducts loadshedding

He had assured the meeting participants that the KE would end night loadshedding in residential areas across the city in the next two to three days for which necessary steps were being taken ‘expeditiously’.

The commissioner told the KE top officials that the power crisis must be resolved at all costs.

The energy minister told Dawn that he summoned the top management of the K-Electric in his office on the severe loadshedding being carried out in Karachi. “I was instructed by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to call a meeting with the power utility and ask them to take concrete steps to end prolonged and unannounced loadshedding in the city,” he added.

The meeting was attended by Labour Minister Saeed Ghani, Chief Minister’s Special Assistant Waqar Mehdi, National Assembly Member Nabil Gabol, MPAs Javed Nagori and Liaquat Ali Askani and other leaders.

KE CEO Moonis Alvi and other senior officers of the power utility were also present in the meeting.

The members of the assembly expressed their displeasure over the recent worst-ever loadshedding and demanded that K-Electric take responsibility for prolonged and unannounced loadshedding in the scorching heat.

The energy minister said that severe loadshedding in Karachi was leading to law and order situation in different localities as the power utility was piling miseries on people. He said that K-Electric officers should mend its ways and take steps to provide immediate relief to the people.

Members of the National and Provincial Assemblies present at the meeting expressed their displeasure over the performance of K-Electric and called for a clear strategy to end loadshedding.

The assembly members said that 14 to 20 hours loadshedding was taking place in the city and demanded that the power utility should find out some solution to this serious problem.

Imtiaz Shaikh claimed that K-Electric had assured them that there would be improvement in the next 24 hours.

KE’s version

A KE spokesman said that the leadership of the power utility, including its CEO Moonis Alvi, met Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh and other representatives of political parties on Wednesday.

Commenting upon the development, he said, “KE continues to face severe cash flow constraints amid the rising cost of fuel and delays in the release of TDS from the federal government which was also highlighted in the meetings with the provincial minister of energy and the representatives of political parties. The honourable minister and political parties’ representatives were also apprised of the rising demand and supply gap owing to the surge in temperature as well as because of the shortage of imported fuel for power production. They were further briefed that due to the non-supply of indigenous gas, two power plants in KE’s fleet capable of 200 megawatts remained non-operational for the past many months. As the shortfall is persisting round the clock, the utility is compelled to conduct load-shedding even during the night hours.”

The spokesperson further added that during last 24 hours, the average power supply to Karachi was 2850 megawatts, including an average supply of 1000 megawatts from the National Grid.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2022

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