ISLAMABAD  - The Karachi Electric Supply Company Limited (KESCL) to decommission three power generation units with accumulated capacity of 175MW has proposed the Licence Proposed Modification (LPM) to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra).

Available copy of the KESCL petition submitted with NEPRA has disclosed to The Nation that the KESCL had sought from the regulatory authority (NEPRA) to approve the decommission of three power generation units including 125mw of Korangi Thermal Power Station (Unit No.3), 25mw of SITE Gas Turbine Station (Unit No.2) and 25mw of Korangi Gas Turbine Power Station (Unit No.3) due to certain reasons consisting poor reliability, high maintenance etc.

The power utility in its petition has also advocated different reasons to get the LPM for above mentioned three power units. The KESCL pleaded that Unit No.3 of Korangi Thermal Power Station has outlived its design life (now more than 42 years since commissioning). Ageing of the units has resulted in irreversible degradation in performance and condition of major components and system. And, Unit No.2 of SITE Gas Turbine Power Station (SGTPS) consisting of Hitachi-GE Frame 5B Gas Turbines of 25mw (ISO) (20mw site) capacity each was commissioned in the period 1978-79 in KESC Fleet. In September 2008, the Gas Turbines at this station was about 30 years old had poor reliability and a very high maintenance and operating cost.

Similarly, the power utility (KESCL) Unit No.3 of Korangi Gas Turbine Power Station (KTGTPS) consisting of 04 Hitachi-GE Frame 5B Gas Turbines of 25mw (ISO) (20mw site) capacity each was commissioned in 1978 in KESC Fleet. In September 2008, the Gas Turbines at this station were more than 30 years old and had poor reliability and a very high maintenance and operation cost.  Earlier, apparently grappling with a highly volatile and completely comprised state of affairs it is trapped in, the currency-hungry KESCL had already decided to convert two of its power generation units at the Bin Qasim Power Station from oil/gas to coal by leasing them out to a third party for twenty endlessly unending years.

The Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power while raising serious concern over the performance and financial constraints of the KESCL had asked the incumbent government to take over the management of the power utility and form a judicial commission to probe the losses and to review implementation of the agreement. The Senate panel had also recommended the government to cancel agreements pertaining to KESC sale and recover favours granted to the privatised entity.  The Senate panel was presided over by the committee’s chairman Senator Zahid Khan also recommended registration of cases against officials responsible for causing losses of over Rs110 billion to the exchequer through ‘illegal’ agreements signed with the private owners of the company. The KESC has reportedly denied the allegations and claimed that it had invested $1 billion during last few years.

Interestingly, the previous govt had privatised the KESC in 2005 ostensibly to ensure smooth and improved supply of power to Karachites. Primarily, the KESC was sold out to the Al-Jomiah Group but the group could not perform well. Later, on finding failure in providing uninterrupted power supply to the residents of port city (Karachi), the power utility’s shares were sold out to the Abraj Group but it also had failed to end increasing darkness as existing unannounced hours long power outages are enough to mock at the fate of Karachites.

And, whereas the decision to privatise the KESC is concerned though it could not bore the required fruit, yet the powerful management in a bid to increase the power production has now proposed to decommission three-generation units with accumulated capacity of 175mw through giving approval to the License Proposed Modification (LPM) of the power utility. And, to reduce the financial constraints the power utility had already decided to convert two of its power generation units at the Bin Qasim Power Station from oil/gas to coal by leasing them out to a third party for long twenty years.