KE and the court

 
August 13, 2020

The issue of regular cuts in power in Karachi which have made the lives of citizens miserable and in some cases brought work to a halt has been taken up by the Supreme Court. A three-member bench...

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The issue of regular cuts in power in Karachi which have made the lives of citizens miserable and in some cases brought work to a halt has been taken up by the Supreme Court. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad heard a petition from citizens against the situation they have been placed in due to the poor performance of K-Electric and its failure to provide uninterrupted power to the citizens of the city. The court has asked the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority to complete an audit of KE and institute proceedings against it for its failures. The court has also said that murder and homicide cases would be registered against KE officials in the event of deaths due to electrocution. In its defence, KE has said that it has not been receiving dues from other government departments, making it difficult to handle its own affairs or maintain its infrastructure. The court has said that this too needs to be inquired into, while also criticizing the consistent rise in power bills coupled with a decline in the ability to provide uninterrupted power.

This has been a longstanding problem in Karachi, as well as other cities and towns. The power infrastructure according to experts is declining and is not being properly maintained especially as the population expands placing new demands on it. The problem is one that requires policies planned at the highest level to tackle. The reality is that Pakistan is not generating enough power to meet the needs of its citizens or its industries. In addition, K-Electric in particular has put forward a very poor performance for many years. Nepra has told the court it is not feasible to immediately change the management of the body but has agreed it will look into the problems mentioned in the petition.

The issues faced by the citizens of Karachi are very real, and are aggravated each time it rains, with the rainfall further disrupting KE’s ability to supply power. It is unlikely an immediate solution can be found. Citizens however have shown their desperation by taking the matter to the highest court in the land. The CJP has said he is determined to solve the problem and for this purpose it will be necessary for all stakeholders to work together in order to bring the power supply situation in Karachi back towards normalcy so that the suffering of citizens who pay high bills can be eased over the coming months.



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