People of Karachi agonised by power cuts, Sindh energy minister tells Nepra

Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh has blamed the K-Electric (KE) for power outages in the city, saying that load-shedding has agonised the lives of the people of Karachi.

He stated this on Friday as he participated via video-link in a meeting chaired by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) chairman and attended by the chief executive officers of various power distribution companies and general public.

The Sindh energy minister said hours-long power cuts on a frequent basis were no more tolerable by the people of Sindh. He said the people of Sindh had to endure up to 18 hours of load-shedding in a day.

He claimed that at present, no electric supply feeder in the entire Sindh could be termed load-shedding-free. He added that he had been receiving calls on a regular basis from power consumers in Lyari, Malir, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Nazimabad, and Defence who complained about instances of prolonged power cuts daily.

He said the power consumers had to face such hours-long interruptions in power supply daily despite the fact that they queued up at banks regularly to pay their electricity bills. Shaikh was of the view that Nepra was under obligation to question the power distribution companies for their failure to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

He also expressed dissatisfaction at the performances of the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) and Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco). He said that Johi, an area in the Jamshoro district in Sindh, had been awaiting repair of its faulty transformers and broken electricity wires since 2010.

The energy minister alleged that the staffers of the power distribution companies were themselves involved in the instances of power theft as electricity could not be stolen without their connivance.

He remarked that the power distribution companies had to do much hard work to uplift their performance. He said the Sindh government could not leave the people of the province at the mercy of the KE, Sepco and Hesco.

He called for the Nepra chairman to issue a deadline to the distribution companies to improve their performance and take stern action against them if they failed to do so.

JI protest

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi Emir Hafiz Naeemur Rehman on Friday held the federal government equally responsible with the K-Electric (KE) for power outages in the city during the extremely hot weather.

He was addressing a sit-in at the Star Gate, Sharea Faisal, against the power utility. It was the third sit-in held by the JI against the KE in Karachi in recent days as the party has launched a campaign against the private power company a few days ago.

According to a statement issued by the party, a large number of JI workers, residents of the area, and people from various walks of life participated in the sit-in. The organisers of the sit-in also ensured the smooth flow of traffic throughout the roadside event.

Addressing the protest, Rehman refuted the KE administration’s claims regarding reduction in the load-shedding. He said that overall, 75 per cent population of the megalopolis was suffering load-shedding.

The JI leader said then Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) was privatised on the pretext of losses and now the government from the national exchequer had been paying a whopping Rs95 billion subsidiary to the KE.

Censuring the KE administration, he said the private power company had failed the purpose of the KESC’s privatisation. He dubbed the conduct of the KE as criminal.

Referring to the recent comments of federal minister Hammad Azhar, he said the federal government had been insisting that the KE’s performance was satisfactory. Such comments and the federal government’s intention to waive off Rs500 billion KE’s liabilities were tantamount to adding insult to the injury, he added.

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