Karachi’s power supply company K-Electric has told the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) that it was not at "fault" for loadshedding occurring in the port city after June 22.
This was stated by K-Electric CEO Moonis Alvi on Friday in a virtual public hearing which was chaired by NEPRA Chairman Tauseef H Farooqi regarding the ongoing loadshedding in Karachi. The meeting was also attended by the NEPRA members from the four provinces.
“The main aim of today’s hearing is to talk about loadshedding in Karachi. Authority will listen to all stakeholders,” said NEPRA Member for Punjab Saif Ullah Chattha at the start of the hearing.
The regulator told the hearing that the company had told them that a shortage of oil was the reason behind power outages and unannounced loadshedding in Karachi.
K Electric CEO Moonis Alvi said that loadshedding increased in Karachi after June 22. He added that in "normal circumstances" the loadshedding in Karachi occurred for "three to seven hours".
Alvi also claimed that he had written to PSO and the federal government regarding the fuel requirement of the power supply company, which he claimed was not fulfilled. He added that PSO asked the federal government to import oil and the request to import the fuel for the power supply company was granted late.
“K-Eclectic plants faced a shortage of furnace oil,” said the CEO. He added that the shortage was not only faced by his company but also by government-run thermal power plants.
Alvi also alleged that the federal government did not pay heed to their request of providing additional electricity from the national grid. He added that currently, the power supply company was taking 720 to 730 megawatts of electricity from the national grid.
“Is the K-Electric not responsible for the loadshedding after June 22,” asked NEPRA chairman upon hearing the CEO. To which, Alvi responded saying that his company was not at "fault" in this matter.
CEO faces wrath of NEPRA chairman
During the hearing, NEPRA directed the KE CEO to respond to the questions of the consumers. However, Alvi walked out and asked his CFO to respond to the questions.
“Where is the CEO?” asked NEPRA chairman upon seeing the CFO. At this, he was told that the CEO has left “to attend a call” by the energy ministry.
The response irked the NEPRA chairman and he remarked that the CEO cannot walk out of the hearing.
Sindh thanks NEPRA
Meanwhile, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh thanked NEPRA for taking notice of the loadshedding in the port city.
The minister informed the hearing that NEPRA chief should come to Karachi and see the problem as it was a “very serious matter”.
“I do not want to start a blame game, the federal government should also come and solve the problem permanently,” said Shaikh.
To this NEPRA member, Saifullah Chattha assured the provincial minister that they will soon come to Karachi and see the problem.
NEPRA chairman also stated that the main aim of the hearing was to gather the facts and the decision would be announced later.
The lawyers, present in the virtual hearing also asked NEPRA if it will end the monopoly of the KE in the Karachi.
“NEPRA wants to create a competitive environment in the power sector,” responded NEPRA chairman to the question. He also assured the people present in the hearing that a NEPRA member will soon visit Karachi.
Earlier this week, NEPRA had decided to hold a public hearing on July 10 regarding the ongoing crisis in Karachi.
The regulator had said that it will hold a public hearing via Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic. Citizens can witness the hearings by writing an email to the NEPRA registrar, after which they will be provided with a password.
The announcement by the regulator came as Karachiites face prolonged power outages since the start of the summer and with the Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) already protesting outside KE's office to show their anger against the power supply company for prolonged load-shedding and overbilling.