KARACHI - The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) disconnected on Tuesday the electricity supply to the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and also warned the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) of withdrawing the “loadshedding exemption status” of the board’s installations.
In continuation of the crackdown on public and private sector defaulters, the KESC disconnected the PSM power supply due to the outstanding arrears of Rs 210 million for various months.
Despite multiple commitments from the PSM, the payment of power bills was not made, leading to the disconnection of power supply, the KESC stated.
The PSM was also informed that the power utility would immediately restore the electricity supply on payment of the defaulted amount.
Meanwhile, the KESC also warned that the persistence of KWSB in maintaining its “default status” on bill payment has left the utility with little choice but to withdraw the long-granted “power shedding exemption status” to the water board’s installations.
After the withdrawal of exemption, the Dhabeji pumping station will have to undergo four hours a day.
Apart from the non-payment of arrears, the continuous default by KWSB on the monthly dues is as good as consuming free electricity by the water utility – an act of “generosity unaffordable by the power utility”, which is already squeezed due to the circular debt issues and spiralling input costs.
It was stated in press release that due to the unpaid dues of KWSB at around Rs 17 billion, the KESC had sent a final disconnection notice to the water board on February 16, but instead of conceding to the payment of its dues, the water board moved a petition in the Sindh High Court seeking immunity against disconnection.
“On February 27, the court had granted a 21-day “grace period” to the KWSB, ordering it to deposit Rs 1 billion in cash and Rs 4 billion worth bank securities to the Court Nazir but the KWSB neither deposited cash nor the guarantees.
“On March 20, the KESC, exercising its legal right for action under Section 24(1) of the Electricity Act 1910, disconnected the power supply to the water board’s pumping station at Dhabeji, which later during the day was reconnected on the assurance of the Sindh governor. However a week has passed since then and the KWSB has not cleared its dues, leaving the power utility with no option but to withdraw the load shed exemption status,” it was stated.
The KESC further said that supplying water to the city consumers was a responsibility of the government-run water board and if it pays up its dues as advised under the high court’s order, only then its exemption status would be restored. “The irresponsible and rather negative role played by the KWSB had caused great difficulties for water consumers of the city for which the board management is directly responsible,” it was said in the statement.