The federal government has grilled the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) for opening a letter of credit amounting to just Rs 400 million for its furnace oil import. Too little says the government considering the need for thermal power generation in the country. Islamabad wants the power utility company to go for import of large quantities of LSFO and HSFO to make its diesel-run power plants run to their maximum capacity so that power outages in countrys business capital Karachi can be minimized. KESC faced the music in last meeting of Cabinet Committee on Energy and has also been taken to task for non-payment of dues to the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) whose outstanding payables by KESC have risen to Rs 50 billion, as reported in a local newspaper. The committee meeting, interestingly, also decided that the KESC would not be allowed outages of more than three hours a day owing to the importance of Karachi as a business hub. So the Pakistan State Oil, a state corporation, was actually asked to amplify its credit limit to the KESC, from Rs 800 million to Rs. 2 billion for 30 days from early March up to April 4. After that, the KESC credit limit with PSO was to plummet again to Rs 1 billion and it was expected to raise the matching working capital on its own. The cabinet meeting also decided that the Sui Southern Gas Company, another state corporation, would provide gas supply of 150 million cubic feet gas per day (mcf/d) to the KESC to augment its power generation. The Pakistan State Oils dues, by the way, have swelled to Rs 110 billion while its liabilities have increased to Rs 93 billion. -MAHEEN MUSTAFA, Lahore, April 25.