KARACHI: 48 hours after Prime Minister Imran Khan tasked his senior party leaders from Karachi to solve the issue of loadshedding in Karachi, Federal Minister Asad Umar on Saturday promised the citizens that the unannounced power outages would end from tomorrow.
The announcement came after a high-level meeting was held at the Sindh’s Governor House where the K-Electric management came under fire from Governor Imran Ismail and Asad Umar over its failure to improve the power distribution network in the city.
Later, the minister and governor visited the protest camp outside K-Electric’s office and promised that there would no unannounced loadshedding in the metropolis from tomorrow.
“The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has increased the gas supply to K-Electric to 290mmcf,” Umar said.
The planning minister added they would do their best to try to solve the issues of the public. “If the problems are not solved after this, we will take legal action. PTI did not sign any agreement with the KE. If a takeover is needed, that will be done,” he remarked.
Speaking about the unannounced power cuts that have increased over the past few weeks, Umar said, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) would release a report regarding the power outages. “NEPRA will take action against the company regarding power cuts and the government is ready to act,” Umar said.
Governor Ismail added that the government was trying its best to deal with the issues of power outages in the metropolis.
“After efforts from the government, there will be no more unannounced power cuts in the city from tomorrow. NEPRA will conduct an audit into the issue of overbilling and if any were found, the KE will refund it,” he added.
The governor shared that he was summoned by the prime minister regarding the KE issue.
“We decided today there will be no unannounced power outages in Karachi from tomorrow. The Petroleum Division has assured us they have increased the supply of gas to the KE,” Ismail added.
KE officials face wrath
During the meeting at Governor House, Asad Umar said that the Centre can provide an additional 500 tonnes of furnace oil to the power utility, adding that it is providing 4,500 tonnes on a daily basis already.
Umar said Bin Qasim Power Plant should be made operational on furnace oil and it can add 190MW to the city’s grid.
The minister said that the power supply company should plan for the future, adding that the city’s peak demand is 3,500 to 3,600MW.
He urged the KE to work on adding 2100MW to the system in the next three years.
The minister warned that the government can take the company into its control if it does not mend its ways.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail said that the K-Electric did not invest to boost power generation.
“The city is being provided 2,950MW of electricity, and the shortfall is 250MW,” said KE CEO Moonis Alvi.
In this case, the governor said loadshedding should not be of more than an hour, but power is switched off for six to seven hours in parts of the city.
The governor expressed his dissatisfaction with the power company, saying it has failed to fulfil its obligations despite help from the Centre.
Ismail said that the KE is ‘more concerned with its profits’.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the KE stated that the management has shared the company’s investment roadmap in two phases, one of which will come online before summer 2021.
Moonis Alvi also presented options available for an increase in power supply to bridge the demand and supply gap next year,” it said.
The KE has already initiated work on building the required interconnections with a view to fast-tracking power evacuation as early as 2023 to receive an additional supply of 1400 MW electricity through the National Grid.