The Supreme Court on Thursday sought details of dues owed by Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to Karachi Electric.
The court also directed the additional attorney-general to ask the finance secretary to share the federal government’s stance on payment of dues of defaulting strategic customers such as the KWSB after the implementation of a 2005 agreement.
The three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, took up the petition filed by K-Electric Limited against the Sindh High Court’s April 2014 verdict which restrained the power utility from disrupting the supply of electricity to KWSB.
In its petition, the power company requested the apex court to set aside the high court’s order and direct the federal government to pay up Rs36 billion in electricity charges owed by the KWSB.
Later, Additional Advocate-General Waqar Rana told the bench that although the federal government was obliged to clear KWSB’s dues under the 2005 agreement, no actual mechanism existed for recovering the amount from the provincial government.
However, the counsel for the power company, Advocate Abid Zuberi, informed the bench that KWSB had failed to pay bills, adding that only Rs5 billion was released after which the board had paid nothing.
“We are left with no other option but to disconnect electricity supply,” said the company’s counsel.
He said that several rounds of talks had been held with the parties concerned for the payment of monthly bills, but the payment was not being made.
Expressing displeasure over the delays on part of the government, the bench observed that the problem of outstanding arrears should have been resolved earlier.
The counsel for water and sewerage board contended that the board was regularly paying its monthly bills.
Justice Amir Hani Muslim directed the KWSB to submit paid bills “if the payments are being made”. He also observed that a stay order was meant for outstanding dues and not monthly bills.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2016.
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