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June 30, 2020

MWM, PSP demand end of K-Electric’s ‘monopoly’ over electricity supply


June 30, 2020

Leaders of the Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) and the Pak Sarzameen Party condemned prolonged and unannounced loadshedding and alleged inflated billing by the K-Electric and demanded an end to the utility’s “monopoly” over the electricity supply.

Leaders of the Majlis-e-Wahdat Muslimeen showed their anger against extensive loadshedding of electricity and alleged hefty billing outside the K-Electric head office in Karachi on Monday, and urged the National Accountability Bureau to probe into the earnings of the company.

Addressing a press conference at the party’s office, MWM leader Ali Hussain Naqvi along with other leaders accused the K-Electric of earning “trillions of rupees” from its consumers. The leaders demanded an end to the monopoly of the company over the electricity supply in Karachi.

They alleged that the KE had deceived consumers on the pretext of a shortfall of 550 megawatts of electricity. “The concerned ministry held K-Electric responsible for the power crisis in Karachi. But the K-Electric exempts itself from any responsibility on the pretext of a shortage of furnace oil.”

The MWM leaders asked whom people could lodge their complaints with in view of this claim and the blame game resulting from this. “It seems the K-Electric doesn’t follow any rule and work above the law while taking the government authorities and legal framework for granted,” Naqvi said.

The MWM leaders warned the federal and provincial governments to take notice of KE’s “anti-people, unjust undeclared loadshedding and overbilling”.

Pak Sarzameen Party chief Mustafa Kamal said that the only solution to resolve the electricity issue in the city was to issue licences to different power companies for generation, purchase, transmission and distribution of electricity to consumers in the same manner as that of cellular companies currently operating in the country.

“As long as there is no competitive environment in the market, the K-Electric monopoly will continue to hurt consumers,” he said.

He said that efforts were underway to sell the K-Electric, and that was why a furnace oil crisis was created most recently. “If furnace oil had been purchased before June, the closing balance and profit at the end of the financial year in June would be lower, which would make the K-Electric less attractive to buyers. The power utility had to show a strong financial position, which the company did at the cost of Karachiites.”

The KE management was now pointing fingers towards other institutions for its “incompetence and criminal failure” to ensure an uninterrupted power supply to its consumers, he said.

Kamal added that Prime Minister Imran Khan mnust reach out to the people of Karachi to heal their sufferings, because the PTI had won the highest number of national and provincial assembly seats from the city compared to any other city in the rest of the country.

A day earlier, organised by the Lyari Awami Mahaz, a demonstration against the electricity crisis was held in Lyari’s Chakiwara Awami Park, where the protesters demanded that the KE’s control be handed over to the Sindh government.

“Most of the residents of Lyari Town are from the labour class,” said one of the protesters, adding that the intermittent and incessant power cuts lasting between 10 and 12 hours had made the lives of the people miserable.

Other parts of the city also reported disruptions in the supply of power. They included Korangi, Shah Faisal Colony, North Karachi, Malir, Landhi, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Federal B Area.

After it was announced that KE would be provided with an additional supply of gas and furnace oil, the power company had assured the authorities on Friday that it would end load-shedding in the metropolis within the next 48 hours.

The assurances were given to Sindh Governor Imran Ismail by KE CEO Syed Moonis Abdullah Alvi in a meeting at the Governor House. “Load-shedding will start reducing after 24 hours and will end in the next 48 hours,” Ismail had said after the meeting.