In this sweltering heat, access to electricity and cooling should be deemed a right. Unfortunately, as the summer rolls by, it threatens to bring to Karachi a calamity that the city has been suffering for years – load-shedding.

To everyone’s peril, it appears that power outages will remain frequent in the country’s metropolis. This means that there won’t just be the routine load-shedding that occurs in scheduled times, but that the outages will be more frequent and come unannounced, with no sure time of when the electricity will be restored.

The attention then turns to K-Electric, the private-owned electric supply company based in Karachi. According to the spokesperson, the outages will continue until the K-Electric is supplied with adequate furnace oil to generate enough electricity for the entire city. The company is alleging that this isn’t the company’s fault but of their suppliers. K-Electric is also leveraging for a price increase, complaining of costs rising due to the pandemic.

The government is working with K-Electric to take steps to reduce the load-shedding. The Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) on Friday approved an additional supply of 350 megawatts of electricity to K-Electric. The CCOE has also asked PSO to import HSFO to supply to K-Electric to cope with the seasonal rise in power demand. While this should hopefully alleviate the worst of the power outages, K-Electric also needs to take some responsibility. It is no surprise that Karachi is experiencing hot weather and thus electricity is in high demand – this happens every year. K-Electric is given enough concessions to be able to fashion an effective model, instead of a load-shedding crisis every year. Its price increase demand is not reasonable – it was already allowed by NEPRA to hike the price up in January – the government should not allow it to put the entire burden on consumers again this summer.