–Asad Umar says petroleum division has increased supply of furnace oil for KE, gas supply being increased to 290m cubic feet
KARACHI: The federal government on Saturday promised the people of Karachi that there would be no unannounced electricity load shedding in the city from Sunday after it decided to increase the supply of furnace oil and gas to K-Electric.
The announcement was made by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar while addressing reporters alongside Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and K-Electric Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Moonis Alvi at a protest gathering by the PTI’s Karachi chapter.
Announcing decisions made during a high-level meeting of government officials and the power utility earlier in the day, Umar said: “The petroleum division has increased the supply of furnace oil for KE and it will be increased further. Currently, 190 million cubic feet of gas is being supplied to KE. This has been increased to 290m cubic feet.”
Umar said initially, a few dual-fire units of the power utility would be run on furnace oil, which would later be extended to all dual-fire units. However, the minister said increasing the supply of oil did not mean the petroleum ministry was at fault.
“The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) is the regulatory authority. It completed a hearing today and will give its verdict later.
“Our purpose was to determine how to end unscheduled load shedding in Karachi. We have decided to increase the supply of gas as well as furnace oil to KE,” he disclosed.
“[As a result of these decisions] there will be no unannounced load shedding in Karachi from tomorrow.”
The minister said it was “unfortunate” that previous governments had signed agreements worth billions of dollars to increase power generation in Pakistan but did not take decisions as to how Karachi could benefit from increased power generation.
Talking about steps the PTI government has taken in this regard, Umar said it had been decided in the past few months that an additional 550 megawatts of energy would be given to Karachi before next summer.
“Then there will be another 800MW increase before the summer of 2022 and another 800MW before the summer of 2023. Collectively, 2,150MW of additional energy will be given to Karachi by the summer of 2023,” the minister claimed.
“This will be an almost 70 per cent increase in power generation compared to now,” he said.
“KE is a private organisation and previous governments have privatised it and the power generation process. But Karachi has not been privatised,” he said.
Umar added that he and the Sindh governor had told the KE chief that the federal government wanted to fully help the power utility to solve problems of the people in Karachi.
“But if you cannot solve them despite help, then we will not look the other way and will use the entire power of law to ensure that people of Karachi are not deprived,” he warned.
The minister said that NEPRA would release a report within three or four days and place responsibility on who was behind load shedding in the city. Responding to a question about compensation for those who died due to electrocution during last year’s monsoon rains, he said NEPRA would take a decision on that.
“The Centre is fully ready to help [the authority] implement its decision if needed.”
Governor Ismail assured the people that the federal government was taking the electricity problem “very seriously”.
“The meeting was very high level and included four federal ministers and MD KE among others,” he said. He requested the protesters to end their protest while assuring them that there would be no unannounced load shedding from Monday.