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September 23, 2020

No respite from prolonged load-shedding for Karachiites

Karachi

September 23, 2020

The residents of Karachi are left to reckon with prolonged power outages as low gas pressure, according to the K-Electric (KE), is adversely affecting its power generation capability.

The situation of gas supply is getting worse in the province as the shortfall has increased to 150 million cubic feet from 120 million cubic feet, and it could double this winter.

The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has asked the KE and other stakeholders, which seek gas from the company, to opt for alternative power generation options as the shortfall could double in winter up to 300 million cubic feet.

Areas such as Lyari, Lines Area, Malir, Surjani Town, Korangi and New Karachi are facing power outages of approximately 12 hours. Similarly, 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 and Martin Quarters are also facing intermittent power shutdowns.

A resident of Gulistan-e-Jauhar’s Block 12 shared that other than six hours of unannounced load-shedding a day, they were additionally facing unannounced power breakdowns on a daily basis. “If these unannounced power outages are due to any fault, it must be fixed; if it is due to maintenance, why do we have it daily,” said the resident.

A resident of the DHA Phase VIII, Sheharyar, said they were facing unannounced power failures throughout the day. Korangi’s resident Saba Naz said they were facing power outages of more than 12 hours a day.

KE statement

According to a statement released by the KE, the power utility is facing an ongoing issue of low gas pressure from the SSGC. “While the quantity of the required gas remains available, decreased pressure leads to reduced production of electricity. This gas pressure shortfall has created a supply gap of 400 MW, at a time when demand is high.”

It said the pressure of the gas supplied to KE’s power generation plants was low due to which various gas-fired plants at Korangi and SITE were not able to operate at their optimum capacity despite remaining fully available. “Generation will be increased as soon as gas supply at the desired pressure is available. KE’s furnace-oil fired power plants are fully functional at this time.”

The power utility has requested the relevant authorities to purchase re-liquefied natural gas (RLNG) “if made available at required gas pressure to meet short term requirements and is awaiting confirmation on the same”.

The KE has expressed concerns that the curtailment of gas pressure may lead to an increase in load-shedding hours across all consumer segments, including the industrial zones. “The power utility requests that the SSGC put in all the required efforts to resolve the situation as swiftly as possible.”

SSGC statement

On the other hand, the SSGC has stressed that there is no gas load-shedding in its franchise areas. “Instead a low-pressure situation has been created due to diminishing gas supplies from different gas fields owned by E&P companies. Currently, the SSGC faces a shortfall of 150 mmcfd gas as a result of which the company's line pack system has been effected. The SSGC is therefore following the government's gas load management plan whereby the company is giving first preference in the supply of gas to the domestic sector.”

It is pertinent to note here that the Sinjhoro and Zarghun Gas Fields are undergoing Annual Turn Around (ATA) right now and a number of other gas fields too are injecting reduced gas into SSGC's system. Hence there are complaints of low gas pressure from the

customers.

“Despite the grave situation, the SSGC continues to provide KE with 190 to 200 mmcfd gas so that the people of Karachi do not face power outages for long.

It must be stressed that gas fields are continually subjected to low gas production. As a result, the upcoming winter will be tough for all the customers about which the SSGC has already informed KE and other stakeholders so that they can make alternate arrangements. The upcoming winter will see a shortfall of 150 to 300 mmcfd gas.”