ISLAMABAD             -      Chairman NEPRA has noted that he had not seen any work being done on improving transmission system by K-Electric and said that the regulator could request the federal government to enhance supply from national grid but KE system was not able to lift the electricity. Chairman Nepra, Tauseef H. Farooqi made these remarks while presiding over the hearing on loadshedding being done by K Electric in Karachi. During public hearing, the masses from Karachi expressed serious concerns against KE over prolonged outrages. Chairman Nepra raised question that 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 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 federal government did not allow to install those projects which were approved in 2016. Interestingly CEO K-Electric put the responsibility of fault in transmission system also on federal government. 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 loadshedding-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. 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 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 fulfill its responsibility of providing electricity. He said that he had not seen any work being done on improving 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 hearing, Nepra indicated to enforce uniform tariff during peak and off peak hours to end loadshedding in Karachi.

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. CEO responded that KE was not responsible for crisis and added ‘KE puts the responsibility on federal government’. He said that they would hold meeting with federal government next week for 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 reason for that load shedding. 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.

Chairman Nepra said that schools and factories were closed due to 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 provincial and federal governments and KE should meet to find out solution of crisis in Karachi.

He said that provincial government was ready to extend support to KE to resolve the issue of loadshedding 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 loadshedding 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.