Chief Executive Officer (CEO) K-Electric (KE) Moonis Alvi apologized to the people of Karachi on Wednesday when he accepted that the city had witnessed the transfer of cargo, which, according to him, had happened more.
Ironically, this statement came after the Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiative Asad Umar during his recent visit to a metropolitan city to overcome the misery of power announced that the electricity company would not load loads without notice from Sunday onwards.
The reason for the release of load, according to the head of the EC, is the high demand of 3,560 megawatts (MW) and in their best case scenario, the electric utility, he said, generates 3,200 MW.
He was giving a speech at a press conference at the KE office to allay Karachi consumers’ concerns about the electricity supply situation and overcome misinformation around various power-related issues.
Alvi assured the Karachi people that the power plant would be upgraded in a few years. He added that in the next few days when the temperature would return, the release of the load would decrease.
If the government approves a new 700 MW power plant in 2016, he said, Karachi’s electricity supply would be better. “In 2016, the power plant project suffered a setback due to technical reasons,” he said, explaining that the electricity company was asked to focus on power plants using local coal variants, while the ‘system’ was designed for the use of imported coal.
“It takes two and a half to three years to establish a new power plant,” Alvi explained. Chief Financial Officer KE Aamir Ghaziani and Chief Distribution Officer (CDO) Amer Zia also spoke on the occasion.
Alvi spoke of the ambitious investment plan of KE which will spend $ 2 billion in the entire power value chain over the next three years, including the fired 900MW RLNG power plant as well as downstream transmission and increased distribution.
In addition, electricity utilities will invest in interconnection infrastructure with a view to evacuating additional power from national networks based on priorities, he said. The federal government has also committed to accelerating infrastructure improvements in the national network so that an additional power of 300MW can benefit Karachi in 2021, plus a further 400MW in 2022 and 800MW in 2023, he explained, adding that in this case, utility power has sought regulatory approval and the government needed, and following the same timely reception, EC would be in a position to realize large-scale power projects that would move Karachi to a position of electricity surplus.
Regarding the city’s current power supply situation, KE’s CEO appreciates the support of the federal government to streamline the supply of fuel which has created a huge pressure on generating units. He added that arrangements related to gas and oil had been discussed and an agreement had been reached with them with the ministry.
Depending on the appropriate gas pressure and ordinary fuel supply, KE power plants can be maximized, Alvi said. A technical error in a turbine from Bin Qasim Power Station (BQPS) -1 is also being corrected quickly with the team working around the clock, he added.
The CEO of KE said that since 2009, the electricity company has invested more than $ 2.4 billion in upgrading and adding electricity infrastructure, including 1,057 MW for its own generating capacity and 1,000 MW through power purchase agreements, building 13 grid stations and improving distribution systems through hundreds additional feeders and thousands of additional transformers.
According to Alvi, such measures have reduced transmission and distribution (T&D) losses from 36 percent to 19 percent, resulting in release of the release burden for 77 percent from Karachi including all industrial zones. He, however, also stated that the release of expenses was also in line with the 2013 Electricity Policy, in accordance with other countries and purely due to electricity theft.
Even in areas with very high power theft rates, hours of cumulative load release do not exceed eight hours, Alvi claims. He added that the load loading schedule was uploaded on the KE website every day and SMS was also sent to all customers registered with the electric utility’s 8119 SMS service.
He explained that sometimes mistakes, tripping incidents or blackouts due to emergency complaints could occur due to weather or environmental conditions and were corrected based on priorities even in the background of the COVID-19 pandemic which had created labor challenges. Load management is only needed when generating capacity is compromised or demand exceeds supply due to high temperature and humidity and uncertain electricity supply from IPP, he said.
Alvi said that the current situation was unprecedented and in an effort to provide assistance to residential customers during the late night, EC had managed the burden through releasing industrial burdens despite the fact that it had a negative impact on the company’s financial health and profitability.
He also clarified what he said were some of the misconceptions that apply to KE billing, highlighting that power tariffs were set for all DISCOs by the National Electricity Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and KE could not make any modifications to it.
He also stated that the KE meter was manufactured according to international standards and was purchased from the same supplier as all other DISCOs. He also rejected the impression that electric utilities were not utilizing their generation in furnace oil to reduce costs. On the contrary, he said, fuel costs were bypassed according to the Nepra-approved mechanism and therefore there was no difference to the KE what fuel was used to produce power.
Alvi believes that the forthcoming EC power plant is efficient and will use cheap fuels that will make power more affordable and reduce the impact on the national treasurer. “Our first focus now is to overcome the challenges of the next monsoon which includes the problem of flooding and urban drainage. We are working with all authorities in the interest of public safety and we ask for the support of our friends in the media fraternity to further spread the message related to public health and safety, “said CEO KE.