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Agencies
July 11, 2020

In public hearing CEO says: KE cannot be blamed for Karachi loadshedding

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A
Agencies
July 11, 2020

KARACHI: K-Electric chief executive Moonis Alvi has refused to accept responsibility for the power utility's role in the persistent loadshedding issues faced by Karachi, saying "KE cannot be blamed", and has instead faulted the federal government for delaying approval for import of oil.

A public hearing to discuss the longstanding loadshedding issues in Karachi, which have taken a turn for the worse this year, was held by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) in Islamabad on Friday.

A number of public representatives, technical experts, representatives of different entities, members of business community, journalists and the consumers of Karachi participated.

Nepra Chairman Tauseef H Farooqui presided over the hearing and members of Nepra from all four provinces also participated.

“We have gathered here today to discuss the issue of loadshedding in Karachi,” said Nepra Vice Chairman Saifullah Chatha. “The authority will listen to all stakeholders present today.”

K-Electric chief executive Moonis Alvi told Nepra that loadshedding in Karachi has experienced a rise since June 22.

“Under normal circumstances, loadshedding in Karachi lasts between three to seven- and-a-half hours,” the KE chief said.

Alvi said that Pakistan State Oil (PSO) had written to the federal government saying that the demand for furnace oil will not be met and had sought permission to import oil.

He said that KE’s plants ran out of oil and not only KE, but the government’s thermal power plants, also faced supply shortages.

“PSO got permission to import oil for KE’s power plants after much delay,” Alvi said. The KE chief said that due to increased demand for electricity in the summer, loadshedding has to be done even in areas otherwise exempt.

“Our request for additional power from the nation grid is never considered,” he complained. Alvi said that currently KE takes 720MW to 730MW from the national grid.

Chairman Farooqui, taking into account the statement by the KE chief, asked whether KE must be held responsible for Karachi’s electricity woes since June 22.

At this, the KE chief vehemently denied being responsible. “KE cannot be blamed for the current situation,” he said.

Farooqui said that KE should have foreseen the increase in demand and planned to meet the shortfall in advance.

MNA Aftab Siddiqui said the power utility sends huge bills to small consumers. “Why has KE not improved it’s electricity distribution system?” he asked.

The Nepra chairman, during the hearing, also showed disapproval over the KE chief finance officer responding to customers’ queries instead of the chief executive during the video conference.

“Where is the CEO?” asked Farooqui, to which he was told that Alvi is away on a call with the power ministry.

“The CEO cannot get up and leave a court hearing,” remarked the Nepra chairman, adding that the power utility has frequently been taken to court over various matters.