KARACHI: Cutting Karachi off from the national power grid will have adverse implications for the government’s decision to privatise its ailing state-run electricity companies, said K-Electric (KE) on Thursday.
The National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) will also be in contempt of the Sindh High Court’s order that has restrained it from shutting off the 650 megawatts supplied to Karachi, it said.
“Any negative outcome will have serious repercussions for not only KE, but the financial hub of this country which is in dire need of revenue generation,” the company said in a statement. Some government officials and parliamentarians have criticised KE for not utilising its own power plants and accused it of relying on the national grid for cheaper electricity instead.
KE said such statements suggested that the company was artificially creating the power crisis.
“We could ask why the rest of the country, with an approximate installed capacity of 20,000MW, is not operating at full capacity,” the statement said. KE said there is a difference between installed and gross dependable capacity of a power plant. “Today, KE’s capacity stands at 1,700MW, not 2,400MW, as grossly misquoted by the ministry (of water and power) officials.”
The company has added a capacity of 1,000MW in the last five years, it said.
On the other hand, the power regulator has not issued a licence to convert 420MW power plants to be run on coal even after the passage of two years, delaying addition of more electricity supply.
Karachi’s peak demand that was around 2,200MW in 2009, has gone up to 3,000MW, and continues to grow every year.
“The newly installed generation units of 1,000MW are gas-fired. The government failed to provide allocated and committed 276mmcfd of gas and unfortunately KE has only received 160-165mmcfd in the last five years,” it said. As the government embarks on an aggressive privatisation campaign, targeting the only privatised entity portrays a negative image to the existing and potential foreign investors, said KE.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2015.