As Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has expressed its desire of to privatise distribution companies (DISCOs), Abraaj Capital, a Dubai-based power giant having 72.5 percent shares of Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), is flexing muscles to acquire shares of some power distribution companies in interior Sindh and Balochistan.
As per reports, the power company has decided to buy some DISCOs in Sindh and Balochistan. The power company has started evaluation of power distribution companies of Sindh and Balochistan that could be viable for power utility and controlled from its base in Karachi.
To materialize its plan, Abraaj Capital has decided to rename KESC K Energy Supply Company to dispel the impression that Dubai-based power giant was confined to Karachi only.
A KESC notice informed shareholders that the company had decided to change name of KECS to K Energy Supply Company. The power utility has also sought objections from its shareholders over this move of the company. However, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has claimed that it has not received any formal requisition from KESC for change in name as yet.
“By changing name of KESC, the management is trying to establish an impression that the operation of the power utility is not only confined to Karachi,” KESC Shareholders Association General Secretary Chaudhry Mazhar Ali said.
“After changing the name of KESC, the management would establish claim that it is operational in Uthal in Balochistan and Sajawal in Sindh,” he claimed. Describing disadvantages of change in company’s name, he said that equipment, systems and stationery of worth millions of rupees would need replacing.
“With insertion of K instead of Karachi, the company would lose its century old identity,” he claimed, predicting that the company could be merged with K Energy, a consortium of an Indonesian business conglomerate and Hong Kong and Korea-based private equity companies, anytime soon.
“We do not get any formal requisiton from KESC for change in name as yet,” NEPRA Registrar Safeer Hussain said. “If KESC needs to change name of the power utility it must apply to NEPRA,” he said.
“The proposal of privatizing DISCOs was floated years ago and many governments discussed on this issue but NEPRA has not received any formal instructions from the government to work on it,” Hussain said, clarifying that “It is also not decided that privatisation model would be like KESC or not.”
“KESC is a private company and the company in the last five years has turned around the image and the perception, has turned around the way Karachi was being powered, through investment and a good distribution network, we believe in starting a new chapter, which is why KESC will be changing its name,” KESC spokesman Taha Siddiqui said.
“It will be within the legal barriers and of course after consulting with the shareholders, the company will change its name,” he added.