Friday August 12, 2022

Power supply to improve in 24 hours, claims energy minister

Minister tells KE officials that law and order is being disrupted due to severe load-shedding in Karachi

By Our Correspondent
June 30, 2022

Life in Karachi continued to be miserable on Wednesday due to unending electricity outages as K-Electric failed to meet the energy demands of the city.

Many areas reported up to 18 hours of announced and unannounced load-shedding. North Karachi, Surjani Town, Shadman Town, Buffer Zone, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Lyari, Saddar, Malir, Landhi, Korangi, DHA, Clifton, Boat Basin, Ibrahim Hyderi, II Chundrigar Road and Shah Faisal Town are faced with a severe crisis.

KE said that despite facing financial constraints, it made another payment of Rs500 million to the Sui Southern Gas Company on Wednesday, bringing the total payment to Rs6 billion during June.

Meanwhile, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Sheikh said on Wednesday that load-shedding issues will improve over the next 24 hours. He, Labour Minister Saeed Ghani and others held a meeting with KE officials, who were told the government will not take any pressure from the power company.

KE consumers, however, continued to suffer on Wednesday. A journalist living in Gulshan-e-Iqbal 13-D said her power bank and laptop battery died due to continuous power outages. She said she had no choice but to go to a nearby restaurant to get her work done. “We buy expensive fuel to keep our generators running — but for how long? These power outages are never-ending.”

DHA resident Fatima Batool said she had to switch to WhatsApp audio calls for her group meetings because her laptop battery died, and she could not even charge her phones. “Load-shedding hours have drastically increased, and life has become miserable.”

Govt-KE meeting

Sheikh summoned KE’s top management on the chief minister’s orders to discuss the worsening power situation. Sheikh told KE officials that law and order is being disrupted due to severe load-shedding in Karachi.

The lawmakers who attended the meeting also expressed their displeasure over KE’s performance, and demanded a clear strategy to end load-shedding. KE CEO Moonis Alvi explained the causes of the power shortfall and load-shedding to them.

Addressing a news conference after the meeting, Sheikh said that due to load-shedding, it is not possible to supply water in different areas, for which orders have been issued to set up a cell in the energy department.

Power utility’s version

KE said in a statement that despite ongoing financial challenges, it continues to make payments to its fuel suppliers, adding that KE’s senior management informed the meeting with government officials about the challenges being faced by the utility, including the rising cost of fuels for power production.

“KE continues to face severe cash flow constraints amid the rising cost of fuel and delays in the release of TDS [tariff differential subsidies] from the federal government, which was also highlighted in the meetings with the provincial minister of energy and representatives of political parties.”

KE said the minister and political parties’ representatives were also apprised of the rising demand and supply gap owing to the surge in temperature as well as because of the shortage of imported fuel for power production.

“They were further briefed that due to the non-supply of indigenous gas, two power plants in KE’s fleet capable of 200 megawatts remained non-operational for the past many months. As the shortfall is persisting round the clock, the utility is compelled to conduct load-shedding even during the night hours.”

Shedding light on the power supply situation, KE said that during the past 24 hours, the average power supply to the city was 2,850 MW, including an average supply of 1,000 MW from the national grid.