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September 18, 2020

Karachiites face hours-long power cuts as KE, SSGC pass the buck

Karachi

September 18, 2020

People of Karachi are again facing prolonged power outages, as load-shedding of up to six hours is being carried out in areas earlier exempted from power load-management, while other areas are facing load-shedding of up to 10 hours.

The blame game between the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and the K-Electric (KE) has once again reared its head. The KE has said the power outages are due to the shortage of gas supply, while according to the sources in the SSGC, they are supplying 190mmcfd to the power utility.

Generally the demand of the power utility, according to a source in the SSGC, is 160 to 190mmcfd but in peak hours it reaches 220 to 230mmcfd. Since the demand is around 220mmcfd for now, the SSGC couldn’t meet it due to a low supply of gas from gas fields.

The KE has said they have a shortfall of 400megawatt due to insufficient gas supply. The KE’s chief financial officer accepted in front of the National Electric Power Regulator Authority (Nepra) that the load-shedding hours had been increased to nine hours in the city on Tuesday as shortfall had reached 400megawatt and that a new power plant would start working from the next year.

Both utility suppliers are testing the patience of the people of Karachi as educational institutes have also resumed in the city. “In such intense power crisis, it has become very difficult to send children to school early in the morning when they spend sleepless nights due to power failure,” said a resident of North Nazimabad, Shamim Salman.

Apart from residents, several small businessmen are also upset due to load-shedding. Wasiq Qureshi has his paper machines installed in Karachi’s Saddar area. Due to intermittent power failure, he said it had become extremely difficult for them to complete orders on time. “When we run machines on the generator, our cost of production increase manifolds,” he lamented, complaining that the power tariffs, as well as petrol prices, were rapidly increasing.

Areas that are severely affected from power outages include Surjani Town, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Golimar, Defence View’s Phase 1, DHA, Clifton, PECHS, Saadi Town, Gulshan-e-Maymar, New Karachi, Quaidebad North Karachi, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Gulberg, Quaidabad, Gulshan-e-Bonaire, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Gulshan-e-Maymar, Malir Jaffar Tayar, Saudabad, Khokrapar, Kharadar, Lyari and Martin Quarters. According to a press statement from the KE, the power supply has been affected due to continuous low supply in gas pressure. Once the gas supply was resumed, the statement said, the power supply to the city would be normal. “The KE and the SSGC management are in coordination with each other,” it said.

On the other hand, the SSGC said they had low pressure in their gas supply to residential and commercial users. The SSGC has faced low gas supply from gas fields. There is almost a gap of 100mmcfd from the gas field.

The gas supply from different gas fields is so low that, the SSGC said, it was very difficult for them to supply gas to residential and commercial areas of the city. The SSGC said their foremost priority was their residential units.