ISLAMABAD-Chairman NEPRA Tauseef H. Farooqi has noted that he had not seen any work being done on improving the transmission system by KE and said that the regulator could request the federal government to enhance supply from the national grid but the KE system was not able to lift the electricity.

The Chairman Nepra made these remarks while presiding over the hearing on loadshedding being done by K-Electric in Karachi.

During the public hearing, the masses from Karachi expressed serious concerns against the KE over prolonged outrages.

He raised a question was KE fulfilling its obligations as a service provider?

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) K-Electric Moonis Abdullah Alvi on the other hand held the federal government responsible for the prolonged power outages in Karachi. He said that required oil and gas supply was not provided to KE that resulted in low production of electricity against demand of Karachi.

He further said that the federal government did not allow to instal those projects which were approved in 2016.

Interestingly, the CEO K-Electric put the responsibility of the fault in the transmission system also on federal government.

The CEO K-Electric said that it was not possible for them to end loadshedding at night time and admitted loadshedding ranged between 3 to 3.5 hours.

He said that he never said that Karachi was a load shedding free city.

He said that Pakistan State Oil (PSO) had asked for a confirmation order of oil supply in May. PSO informed the federal government that it could not meet requirement of oil demanded by KE and called for removing ban on import of furnace oil.

The CEO KE said that PSO had conveyed that it could not provide oil and rather asked for taking gas. He said that 250 mmcfd gas is being given against demand of 280 mmcfd. He said that oil supply was not given and gas supply was not increased as well.

He said that KE was producing 2500 MW electricity against the demand of 3300 MW. He indicated that oil would arrive at power plants in 24 hours and electricity production would start to improve the situation in Karachi.

He further said that other power plants were also not producing full electricity due to shortage of oil. He said that government was providing 700 to 750 MW electricity from national grid.

He said that KE was working on projects of transmission costing over $400 million. He said that 30 to 40 feeders remain closed due to maintenance purpose. He said that power demand went up to 3600 MW last week.

He observed that it seemed as all departments and institutions were stopping KE to fulfil its responsibility of providing electricity.

He said that he had not seen any work being done on improving the transmission system by KE after he assumed the charge. He said that Nepra could request the federal government to enhance supply from national grid but KE system was not able to lift the electricity.

During the hearing, Nepra indicated to enforce uniform tariff during peak and off peak hours to end load shedding in Karachi.

The Chairman Nepra asked who was responsible for lack of transmission system of KE. The CEO KE said that federal government was responsible in this regard.

The CEO responded that KE was not responsible for the crisis and added KE puts the responsibility on federal government.

He said that they would hold a meeting with the federal government next week for the demand and supply of electricity in 2021. He said that KE was holding discussions to run rental power plants for two to three months.

Member Nepra Rehmatullah Baloch said that KE had fuel before this crisis but loadshedding was being done and asked what was the reason for that loadshedding?

KE authorities said that Tapal and Gul Power plants were not operating at full capacity due to shortage of fuel which was reason for load shedding.

The Chairman Nepra said that schools and factories were closed due to the Covid-19 but KE was unable to manage the situation despite a shortfall of 300 to 350 MW. He said that decision would be taken after examining facts and details.

He said that KE should have surplus electricity in current situation of Covid-19. Chairman Nepra asked KE to provide details of production, transmission and distribution of electricity.

Energy Minister Sindh Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh said that fuel supply to KE should be ensured.

He said that the provincial and federal governments and KE should meet to find out solution of crisis in Karachi.

He said that the provincial government was ready to extend support to KE to resolve the issue of load shedding and added that planning should be made keeping in view the future needs of KE.

Member Nepra from Sindh Nepra Rafique Ahmed Shaikh directed KE to immediately end the load shedding in Karachi. However, CEO KE apologized and said that it was not possible due to rising demand of electricity.

He said that there has been a shortfall if even supply of electricity to industry is curtailed. There will be no load shedding if demand remains below 2900 MW, Alvi added.

Firdous Naqvi said that K-electric is responsible for the loadshedding. The transmission system of KE cannot carry load more than 3100 ME, he claimed. He also criticized NEPRA and said that the regulator has failed to perform its duties.