Union vs utility: KESC threatens to close down all operations

Refuses to engage in discussions with PM’s committee.


Irfan Aligi June 13, 2011

KARACHI:


If the residents of Karachi have had enough, so has the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC). It will stop all ongoing operations because the unionists have been preventing outsourced repair teams from doing their work.


“Despite the Sindh High Court orders, all of KESC’s offices (including its head office) remain forcefully shut down across the city by union miscreants,” said spokesman Aminur Rehman. “We cannot engage in any discussions with the committee that the prime minister has constituted for dialogue with the union and may also have to suspend all operational activities.”

The term operation covers a lot of work — from electrification to electricity generation. If KESC pulled the plug, Karachi would be looking at a blackout.

KESC has been under attack, it says for quite some time now. On Monday morning, union workers entered the Korangi power plant and Landhi grid station where they manhandled staff and injured them.

The spokesman said that they had been freely roaming around the city “terrorising” KESC’s field staff. He said the police don’t take action because the union members always accompany the rioters.

In a bid to get to the bottom of the mess, much of which cannot be reported because of vested political interests of two mainstream parties, The Express Tribune emailed five questions to KESC’s PRO, of which three replies were returned and two questions remained unanswered.

The Express Tribune asked, can we blame KESC for the city’s ongoing power crisis? In response, the PRO wrote: KESC cannot be blamed for the ongoing power crisis. There is a massive shortage of fuel especially gas from Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC).

Two years ago in 2009, the gas supply was 300 mmcfd, and it now stands at 170 to 180mmcd, while the demand (for electricity) has surged beyond 2,500 MW. Apart from that, the recent chaos created by the union, especially in terms of sabotage, is a blatant violation of all laws of the land and directly being done to create misery for the people of Karachi.

How would KESC defend itself or what is its stand on public criticism? “I’m sure you have been following our regular press releases; they will answer your queries marked above and below,” said the PRO. As KESC has outsourced its repairs, are these teams or personnel trained to do such technical work such as repairs and maintenance of cable faults among others? The PRO replied: “KESC, like any other private company, has the right to operate in the way it deems is best for its efficiency.”

KESC did not answer these questions: How many plants are working now and what was the exact amount of electricity produced on Sunday, or preferably in the last seven days? And, how many contractors are presently carrying out KESC’s outsourced work?

Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2011.

COMMENTS (18)

Fatima | 10 years ago | Reply If the government does not utilize the natural resources we have then how will KESC be able to produce electricty if the country is running low on fuel? isn't that common sense? and shouldn't the government be blamed for that? rather than KESC
ASK | 10 years ago | Reply What an excuse by one of the persons commenting that since KESC is paying people with political affiliations millions they should pay in-efficient workers. Not that I agree with KESC but since it is a private company and if it thinks it needs to have political clout and it can afford it they can keep who ever they want, again I don't agree to it but it is their money. But, since KESC does not require the 4,000 workers it is their decision. Plus, on top of that it is these workers which are making us go through hell in this hot weather and repairing our electricity if we pay them a hefty bribe.
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