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July 12, 2020

Govt assures KE of prioritised fuel supply to overcome power crisis

Business

July 12, 2020

KARACHI: Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar on Saturday assured supply of furnace oil and gas to K-Electric on priority basis as power outage in the country’s commercial hub increased to an alarming level due to erratic fuel availability.

“The federal government would diligently support people of Karachi through prioritised supply of local FO (furnace oil) and gas at sufficient pressure which would allow KE to operate its plants at full capacity,” Umar said during a meeting with KE delegation. “This would be reinforced by expedited imports of furnace oil that are already underway after the due approvals from the cabinet committee on energy.” KE delegation was led by its CEO Moonis Alvi, while the meeting was attended by Governor Sindh Imran Ismail and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Shahzad Qasim.

Planning minister said the government is committed to resolve the issues. “This is critical to resolve Karachi’s power supply issues on a fast-tracked basis.”

The minister also directed the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) to make necessary upgrades to its interconnections, which would allow approximately 300 megawatts or more additional power supply from the grid as early as next year.

KE was assured of all-out support regarding approvals required to build interconnections to take additional power supply from the NTDC. Approval from the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority and contractual modalities are still pending.

KE was asked to reach out to its consumers and make sure that their complaints/grievances are resolved on priority basis.

Alvi apprised the meeting about the power supply related challenges the company faces on account of erratic fuel supplies and power supplies from independent power producers, nuclear and wind power plants.

“Keeping in view the demand and supply situation, the power utility planned ambitious investment of $2 billion on power sector’s value chain, aimed to eliminate the power deficit in Karachi,” he said. The K-Electric officials shared the company’s investment roadmap in two phases, one of which will come online before summer next year.

Alvi also presented options available for increase in power supply to bridge the demand and supply gap next year. KE has already initiated work on building interconnection with a view to fast-tracking power evacuation as early as 2023 in line with an approval of additional 1,400MW from the grid. KE appreciated the minister and government for their unconditional support to enable the company to maximise its power supply and ensure that exempted customer categories including industries and residential customers are relieved from load-management. KE is the only vertically-integrated power utility in the country, serving more than 2.5 million customers across Karachi, Dhabeji and Gharo in Sindh, and Uthal, Vinder and Bela in Balochistan. It generates electricity from its own power generation units with installed capacity of 2,267MW. In addition, the utility has arrangements with external power producers for around 1,360MW, including 800MW from the grid.