As the country’s power regulator and K-Electric bickered over who was responsible for Karachi’s worsening power woes, a Senate panel on Friday decided to initiate an inquiry to fix responsibility for blackouts in the metropolis.
At the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power, the chairman of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) held K-Electric responsible for prolonged outages in Karachi, accusing the company of failing to rectify technical faults promptly and invest in its distribution network.
K-Electric’s chief executive officer (CEO) rejected Nepra’s assertions, prompting the panel to agree to form a subcommittee to look into the matter.
Addressing the panel, Nepra Chairman Tariq Sadozai said the regulator’s initial findings showed that K-Electric supplied its consumers a maximum of 2,478MW even though the company had 2,816MW available.
“K-Electric should have carried out an average four hours of load-shedding, but according to our team, residents of some areas of Karachi were without electricity for 18 to 96 hours at a stretch after the utility company’s distribution system tripped,” he said.
According to Sadozai, K-Electric had efficient generation plants but no gas supply agreement with a gas firm. He said under K-Electric’s revised power purchase agreement with the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), the utility company had to generate power from its own resources, but it still depended on the national grid to meet demand.
Some panel members too criticised K-Electric for not fulfilling its commitment to invest in its power generation capability.
K-Electric CEO Tayyab Tareen rejected the charge, saying company had invested $1.2 billion in its power generation and distribution system and reduced losses from 40% to 23%. He denied that there were prolonged outages in Karachi, saying technical faults which developed in some areas were addressed promptly. He admitted, however, that K-Electric teams were prevented from repair work in some areas. He added that there was no load-shedding in Karachi during Sehr and Iftar as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2015.