KE Busts Karachi power supply myths

K-Electric hosted a press conference at its Office to allay the concerns of Karachi consumers around the power supply situation and address misinformation around various power-related issues. The conference which, was hosted by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) K-Electric, Moonis Alvi, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Aamir Ghaziani and Chief Distribution Officer (CDO) Amer Zia, focused on transparently addressing the prevailing myths around the power utility.

CEO K-Electric, Moonis Alvi focused on K-Electric’s ambitious investment plan which would see USD 2 bn spent across the power value chain over the next three years, including a 900 MW RLNG-fired power plant, a 700 MW coal-fired power plant as well as downstream transmission and distribution upgrades. In addition K-Electric will be investing in interconnection infrastructure with a view to evacuating additional power from the national grid on priority. The Federal Government had also committed to expedite infrastructure upgrades at the national grid side so that 300 MW additional power could benefit Karachi in 2021, supplemented by a further 800 MW in both 2022 and 2023 respectively. In this regard, the power utility has already sought necessary regulatory and governmental approvals, and following the timely receipt of the same, K-Electric will be in a position of materialize the large-scale power projects that would move Karachi into a power surplus position, Moonis briefed. Regarding the current power supply situation of the city, the CEO appreciated the support of the Federal Government in streamlining fuel supplies which had created a considerable strain on generation units. He added that gas and furnace oil related arrangements had been discussed and agreed with the Ministry and depending on appropriate gas pressure and regular fuel supplies, KE’s power generation could be maximized. The technical fault at one turbine of the Bin Qasim Power Station (BQPS) – 1 was also being swiftly rectified with teams working around the clock and power supply position was expected to be fully normalized within the week.

Since 2009, KE has invested over USD 2.4 bn in power infrastructure upgrades and additions, adding 1057 MW to its own generation capacity and 1000 MW through Power Purchase Agreements, building 13 grid stations and upgrading distribution system through hundreds of additional feeders and thousands of additional transformers. These have reduced Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses from 36% to 19%, resulting in load-shed exemption for 77% of Karachi including all industrial zones, Alvi reminded.

The CEO K-Electric categorically refuted the allegation that unannounced load-shed was being carried out across the city including in exempt locations. Load-shed schedules are uploaded to the KE Website on a daily basis and SMS are also sent out to all customers who are registered with our 8119 SMS service he stated, while adding that regular load-shed was in line with the National Power Policy 2013 and in accordance with the rest of the country on account of power theft. However even in areas with extremely high levels of power theft, cumulative load-shed hours did not exceed 8 hours. Load-shedding does not include faults, tripping incidents or any outages due to emergency complaints as these can occur due to weather or environmental conditions and are rectified on priority even in the backdrop of COVID-19 which is creating workforce challenges.

He also clarified prevailing misconceptions about K-Electric’s billing highlighting that the tariff is set by for all DISCOs by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and is uniform across the country. Similarly K-Electric’s meters are manufactured according to international standards and purchased from the same suppliers as all other DISCOs. He also debunked the myth, that K-Electric underutilizes its generation on Furnace Oil so as to reduce its costs. Rather, he said, fuel costs are passed through in line with the NEPRA approved mechanism and thus it makes no difference to K-Electric what fuel is utilized to generate power at the plants. Further to benefit Karachi-based customers, K-Electric’s upcoming plants are efficient and utilize lower-cost fuels which would make power more affordable and reduce the impact on the National Exchequer.

He closed the press conference by saying that, “Our first focus right now is addressing the upcoming Monsoon challenges which include urban flooding and drainage issues. We are working closely with all relevant authorities in the interest of public safety and we request the support of our friends in the media fraternity to further propagate messages related to public health and safety. ”

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