KESC cuts Steel Mills’ power over payment row

Wants Rs550m immediately, while PSM wants to pay just Rs250m.


Our Correspondent July 18, 2013
PSM suggested proposed increasing the daily payments to Rs15 million from Rs10 million but KESC refused to accept this arrangement. DESIGN: MOHSIN ALAM

KARACHI: Power supply to the cash-strapped Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) was cut on Thursday after it failed to pay the bills despite repeated meetings and assurances, officials said.

Country’s largest steel making concern has to pay around Rs930 million to the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) against payment of power purchases from March to April 2013.

Officials of the two organisations had a meeting at the KESC head office for two hours to resolve the crisis, but ended on a stalemate.

While the KESC insists that PSM immediately pays at least Rs550 million, PSM is willing to pay just Rs250 million during the month.

PSM suggested proposed increasing the daily payments to Rs15 million from Rs10 million but KESC refused to accept, saying this arrangement will take a long time to clear the backlog.

A PSM spokesperson said that they were trying to convince KESC to restore power supply to at least the residential colonies of the mill.

“We have to rely on national power grid to run our steel rolling mills. But the blast furnace and coke oven batteries are running on our own thermal power plant,” he said.

In the meeting, KESC also sought letter of comfort on behalf of Ministry of Finance as an assurance that it will get the dues but PSM refused to furnish that.

The problem of non-payments goes on to show that power crisis has gone beyond control.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2013.

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