ISLAMABAD - K Electric is incapable to make Karachi loadshedding free during Sehr and Iftar unless the Federal government ensures supply of additional 150MW electricity to the utility during Ramazan.

In November last year, K-Electric had requested the Power division for the provision of additional 300MW electricity for the month of Ramazan, however, the government committed to provide 150 MW, official source told The Nation. Now Ramzan is about to start and we haven’t heard any word on the issue of additional electricity supply so far, said the source.

On the other hand, another source in the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) claimed that the power division has moved a summary to ECC for approval of 150MW electricity for K-Electric consumers.

The federal government has already announced zero loadshedding during Sehr and Iftar in the Discos area and also wants K-Electric to do the same. However with the current demand supply gap, K-Electric will not be able to ensure outages free Sehr and Iftar unless the federal government commits additional power from the national grid, said the source.

Meanwhile, spokesperson for K-Electric said that additional power from the national grid is critical to exempt residential areas in Karachi from power outages during Sehr and Iftar. “The power utility has been engaging with concerned authorities for some time now to bridge the anticipated supply shortfall during peak summer in Karachi and principal approval for provision of additional power is awaited from the Ministry of Energy (Power Division).  Load shedding exemption for residential power customers in Karachi during Sehr and Iftar will be announced as soon as KE’s request for additional supply of electricity is approved by the concerned authority, the spokesman said.

Utility had sought additional 300MW electricity for month of Ramazan in November last year

KE had written a letter to the federal government last year, in which it requested an additional power of 300MW from national grid which is critical to meeting Karachi’s peak summer demand of 3500 MW.

A few months back, K-Electric intimated the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) that due to the delay in finalizing its multi-year tariff, many of its planned investments in generation projects have been delayed and therefore KE is anticipating a power shortfall in Karachi during the peak summer period.

In response to a query about why Karachi is expected to face a shortage of power, the KE spokesperson said, “a number of projects, which were expected to be online by now, have been delayed because of unavoidable circumstances. Most noticeable among these is the 900MW BQPS-III, which would have been enough to fulfil additional demand, he added.

The spokesperson further clarified that the generation project timeline had been affected as the multi-year tariff determined by NEPRA took much longer than anticipated and was not in line with what had been requested to stimulate further investment in generation, transmission and distribution.

“We had foreseen this demand and have been engaging various stakeholders for some time now,” he claimed.

KE has made every effort to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page and that there is no gap, the spokesman maintained.

KE has invested more than $ 2.1 Billion in infrastructure upgrades across the energy value chain over the last 9 years and plans to invest another $ 3 billion over the next few years. We are committed to increase generation as well as to upgrade Karachi’s transmission and distribution network, he said.

A source in the ministry of power division when contacted said that legally the federal government is not bound to provide a single unit to the K-Electric as they were supposed to make investment in new electricity generation projects, upgrade their transmission and distribution system which they didn’t do, said the source. They are charging the consumers for the up-gradation charges and showing it in its profit but they are not spending it on the consumers.

Even 650MW electricity, which is being provided to K-Electric from National Grid is illegal as the agreement in this regard has already expired and no new contract has been signed. But to provide relief to Karachiites, the federal government has agreed to provide 150MW additional electricity to K-Electric during Ramazan. The summary for the provision of additional 150MW electricity has been forwarded to Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet. However, a spokesman of the ministry of energy (power division) when contacted said that “On the request of KE and considering the requirement of Karachi, the Power Division has already agreed to supply 150MW of electricity to KE. The same would be supplied to them on completion of legal requirements, at the very earliest.