KARACHI, Jan 6: Despite the government’s directives to bring an end to unannounced load-shedding, the Karachi Electricity Supply Company’s management has not yet issued a load-shedding schedule. While the KESC did increase generation on Tuesday, consumers still experienced at least three cycles of load-shedding, each lasting an hour or more.

According to KESC spokesperson Ayesha Eirabie, the utility was 60MW short on Tuesday, when demand stood at 1,410MW. She did not mention, however, how much power was being supplied by Wapda, and how much was generated by the Bin Qasim power plant and KTPS. Three units of the Bin Qasim plant remained shut on Tuesday.

Sources indicate that the government compelled the KESC to increase its own generation. On Tuesday, supply from the Bin Qasim plant oscillated between 775MW and 450MW. Two units were kept idle in order to save on fuel costs, while one was shut down for maintenance. The increase in the KESC’s generation capacity illustrates that the utility had the ability to produce more power, but had not been doing so.

The KESC had saved on fuel costs by not purchasing furnace oil, and instead relying mostly on gas supplies. Many KESC consumers from across the city complained that their complaints of long outages were not being attended to, and that the KESC would only tell them that the outages were due to “tripping in the system”.

Residents from Nazimabad and North Nazimabad complained of power outages lasting more than an hour at least thrice on Tuesday, while supply to the entire West Zone remained disturbed. Residents of Gulshan-i-Iqbal and Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Shah Faisal and parts of Lyari also experienced unannounced power outages. Until the filing of this report, many areas remained in darkness, causing great inconvenience to those attending majalis in connection with Ashura-i-Muharram.

Meanwhile, Kanupp is still off line, while the DHA Cogen is also out of order. Kanupp had tripped on January 1, just three days after its operations were resumed after a KESC transmission line fault. The facility is expected to be back on line within the next 24 hours, providing up to 85MW to the KESC network.

Well placed sources say that if the KESC operates its generating plants efficiently, and procures power from the two dedicated IPPs, it will be able to meet the power demands of the city without getting power from Wapda. Wapda is currently supplying about 500MW to the KESC under government directives. If the KESC were to generate to capacity, that power would be available on the national grid to be diverted elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the KESC has announced an extension in the due date for bills previously due on Jan 8. As Ashura is falling on this date, those bills are now due on Jan 10. Consumers may deposit bills by that date without any late payment surcharge.

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