KARACHI: A protest demonstration, led by Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar was held outside the head office of K-Electric (KE) on Tuesday against prolonged and persistent load-shedding in the city.
The protestors chanted slogans against KE accusing the power utility of over-billing consumers and cutting power supply for longer durations throughout the day.
The protesters also included elected members of the city council.
Recently, KE had hinted that load-shedding would continue throughout Ramadan and no exception would be made during Sehr and Iftar timings, unlike earlier promises in which it claimed to provide uninterrupted power supply at least at the two times of the fasting days.
“Citizens [of Karachi] face inconveniences due to the continuous load-shedding,” Akhtar said.
A recent row between KE and Sui Southern Gas Company has resulted in citizens facing hours of outages at a stretch. The tussle started with KE blaming SSGC for the long outages, but the latter refused of having any role to play in the matter. SSC stated it had not cut gas supply for electricity despite the power utility company owing it dues.
It is said that nearly 2.5 million households were affected by the 10-hour-long power outage.
However, recently, KE and SSGC made a headway in their negotiations as former agreed to pay the security deposit to SSGC as a customer.
Following the payment of the deposit, SSGC has agreed to provide more gas to the power utility company to assist in the reduction of load-shedding.
SHC ISSUES ORDER TO SSGC:
The Sindh High Court (SHC) later in the day ordered Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to supply 276 MMCFD of gas to K-Electric to avoid the power outage crisis in the city.
KE had moved SHC against SSGC over the issue of non-supply of gas. It accused the gas company of not providing the adequate amount of pressure which it claimed is the main reason behind the prevailing load shedding in the metropolis. The gas supplier, on the other hand, maintained that KE has repeatedly failed to pay its bills.
The SHC instructed SSGC to supply the required quantity of gas to K-Electric, and ordered K-Electric to pay the outstanding bills immediately.
However, a committee constituted by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) to investigate the load-shedding crisis submitted its report to authorities. The committee had found KE to be primarily responsible for the power crisis since it failed to run oil-run power plants causing acute shortage of electricity.