Thursday July 18, 2024

KE agrees to restore power supply to defaulters using up to 200 units

By Our Correspondent
May 25, 2024
Sindh Energy Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah chairing a meeting regarding the KElectric bills on May 24, 2024. — Facebook/SNasirHussainshah
Sindh Energy Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah chairing a meeting regarding the KElectric bills on May 24, 2024. — Facebook/SNasirHussainshah

Sindh Energy Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah on Friday announced that the K-Electric (KE) has agreed to restore electricity supply to consumers using up to 200 units by overlooking their old dues and charging them based on new bills.

This decision, the minister said, aimed to provide maximum relief to underprivileged consumers. Shah and Sindh lawmakers held a meeting with KE officials on Friday. The energy minister said the government appreciated the initiative of the power utility and expressed the hope that the KE would restore its reputation among the public through consumer-friendly measures.

He said that people should also trust the electricity company and ensure timely payment of power bills. Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani, MNA Nabeel Gabol, MPAs Yousuf Baloch, Asif Khan and Najam Mirza, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Ali Khursheedi, Muhammad Farooq of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), District South Pakistan Peoples Party President Khalil Hot, KE CEO Munis Ali, CDO Sadia Dada, Consultant Shizi Hussain, Regional Head Sheikh Humayun, Farah Naz, Nand Lal Sharma, Energy Ministry Consultant Hasan Raza and others participated in the meeting.

The meeting discussed the issues of increased load-shedding in Karachi, non-payment by KE bills and shutdowns of PMTs in various areas.. Lyari MNA Gabol and MPA Baloch protested against the KE for once again implementing 12 to 16 hours of load-shedding in the area. They decried continuous load-shedding from 5am to 1pm for eight hours.

They said that they did not understand what the agenda of the KE’s management was as the power utility had created a situation of conflict between the Baloch-populated areas and the Sindhi and Kutchi communities in Lyari.

They also mentioned that the power utility officials refused to listen to or meet with the elected representatives. Khursheedi and JI MPA Farooq also criticised what they termed anti-people attitude of the power utility administration.

Ghani complained that the KE lacked a proper system that resulted in bill payers and non-payers getting same treatment. He censured the power utility’s attitude of preferring to pay fines to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority rather than providing relief to the public.

Addressing the KE CEO, he said that such behaviour contradicted the constitution and would not be tolerated. Ghani pointed out that in areas where people attacked KE offices, load-shedding was reduced, implying that the company encouraged such actions to mitigate load-shedding.

Ghani emphasised that the power utility should not prioritise financial gains over human lives. He mentioned that, as the local government minister with the Karachi Water Sewerage Corporation under his administration, they did not cut off water supply even if people did not pay bills.

He stressed that electricity was a necessity, not a luxury, and its unavailability could worsen the situation. The KE CEO responded by stating that 70 per cent of the city encompassing 1,650 feeders was currently not experiencing load-shedding. Areas with 0 to 20 per cent recovery also had zero load-shedding, he claimed, adding that those with up to 35 per cent recovery faced six hours of load-shedding, and areas with lower recovery rates endured 10 hours of load-shedding.

Alvi highlighted that the public owed K-Electric Rs70 billion. He said that if people paid their current bills, load-shedding could be eliminated. The meeting also demanded that the KE exempt examination centres from load-shedding during the Intermediate exams. The government also assured prompt payment to cover the costs of avoiding load-shedding at all water pumping stations in Karachi.

The energy minister urged the power utility to respect everyone, especially elected representatives. He called for a mechanism to provide relief to Karachi's residents. A committee led by Ghani was formed in the meeting that included representatives from the Sindh Assembly, political parties and the KE to arrive at solutions for load-shedding and ensuring bill payments. Shah announced that delegations from Lyari, JI and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan would meet K-Electric officials to address load-shedding.

KE’s statement

The KE in a press statement said that during the meeting, it was decided to form a joint committee consisting of representatives of the Sindh government and KE to address load-shedding and other issues of the city.

The committee would jointly work on addressing public grievances, ensuring timely bill payments, and developing strategies to minimise load-shedding and ensure uninterrupted power supply in the city.

The KE reiterated in the meeting the power utility’s commitment to cooperating with the residents of Karachi during the heatwave but he also said that uninterrupted power supply was not possible without payments of bills, the statement read.

The KE said the Sindh energy minister had assured it that the government would play a role in the payment of over Rs9 billion rupees owed by Sindh government.