Saturday Jul 11, 2020
KARACHI: Federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Saturday announced that there would be no unannounced power outages in Karachi from tomorrow after gas supply to the city’s sole power utility was increased.
“The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has increased the gas supply to K-Electric to 290mmcf,” Umar told the media at a protest camp outside KE’s office alongside Sindh Governor Imran Ismail.
The planning minister added they would do their best to try to solve the issues of the public. “Even if after this the problems are not solved, we will take legal action. PTI did not sign any agreements with KE, the previous governments did. If a takeover is needed, that will be done,” he remarked.
Speaking about the unannounced power cuts that have increased over the past few weeks, Umar said, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) would release a report regarding the power outages. “NEPRA will take action against the company regarding power cuts and the government is ready to act,” Umar said.
Governor Ismail added that the government was trying its best to deal with the issues of power outages in the metropolis.
“After efforts from the government, there will be no more unannounced power cuts in the city from tomorrow. NEPRA will conduct an audit into the issue of overbilling and if any were found, CEO KE will refund it,” he added.
The governor shared that he was summoned by the prime minister regarding the KE issue.
“We decided today there will be no unannounced power outages in Karachi from tomorrow. The Petroleum Division has assured us they have increased the supply of gas to KE,” Ismail added.
KE saw an decent increase of 450 MW in its citywide production of electricity after it received the gas supply, sources said.
The company has boosted its power production up to 2,950MW, said power industry sources, adding that earlier the numbers were at 2,500MW.
The sources said the city’s demand stood at 3,300MW and the new jump in production can bring an ease to loadshedding.
Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar said that the Centre can provide an additional 500 tonnes of furnace oil to the KE, adding that it is providing 4,500 tonnes on a daily basis already.
Umar said Bin Qasim power plant should be made operational on furnace oil and it can add 190MW to the city’s grid.
The minister said that the power supply company should plan for the future, adding that the city’s peak demand is 3,500 to 3,600MW.
He urged the KE to work on adding 2100MW additionally to the system in the next three years.
The minister said that if KE did not mend its ways then the Centre can take the company into its control.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail said that KE has not make any investment or expenditure to boost production of the electricity.
The governor was addressing a session on Karachi’s power woes, where KE officials gave a briefing as well. The session was held on directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“The city is being provided 2,950MW of electricity, and the shortfall is 250MW,” said KE CEO.
To which, the governor responded that then the loadshedding should not be of more than an hour, but power is switched off for six to seven hours in parts of the city.
The governor expressed his dissatisfaction with the power company, saying it failed to fulfill its obligations despite help from the Centre.
He said that the Centre has surplus electricity, although the power company cannot add more than 720MW from the national grid to its system.
Ismail said that KE is ‘more concerned over its profits’ over people’s benefit, adding that the Bin Qasim power plant can be made operational on furnace oil if gas supply is an issue.
The power supply company said that with the help of the national grid, it can add 500MW to the system until next summers.
Until April 2022, KE said it will add 800MW to the system and in 2023 as well.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the KE stated that the management has shared the company’s investment roadmap in two phases, one of which will come online before summer 2021.
Moonis Alvi also presented options available for an increase in power supply to bridge the demand and supply gap next year,” it said.
The KE has already initiated work on building the required interconnections with a view to fast-tracking power evacuation as early as 2023 to receive an additional supply of 1400 MW electricity through the National Grid.