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KARACHI: Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar Saturday said unscheduled loadshedding by K-Electric would come to an end from Sunday (July 12) onwards.

Flanked by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and KE CEO Monis Alvi outside KE Head Office, Asad Umar said the Petroleum Division would increase its furnace oil and gas supply to the company.

The provincial lawmakers of PTI were protesting outside KE Head Office against power outages in the city which culminated after KE officials assured the Federal Minister Asad Umar to end unscheduled power cuts in the city. The minister said currently, 190 million cubic feet of gas is being supplied to KE which now has been increased to 290m cubic feet.

However, the minister clarified that increasing the supply of oil did not mean the Petroleum Ministry was at fault.

The units of the company near Bin Qasim will be run on furnace oil within a few days and the supply of oil has been increased by the Division.

The planning minister added they would do their best to try to solve the issues of the public. "Even if after this the problems are not solved, we will take legal action." Umar said next year, before summer 2021, additional electricity of 550 megawatts will be generated. In the summer of 2022, 800 megawatts more will be provided to the city.

The minister said that although K-Electric has been privatised, Karachi, however, has not been privatised.

To a question, Umar said PTI did not sign any agreement with KE, the previous governments did. If a takeover is needed, that will be done." Governor Imran Ismail said that the government was trying its best to deal with the issues of power outages in the metropolis.

"After efforts from the government, there will be no more unannounced power cuts in the city from tomorrow. Governor said Nepra would conduct an audit into the issue of over-billing and if any were found, CEO KE will refund it," he added.

Meanwhile, K-Electric has expressed its gratitude to the Governor Sindh, Imran Ismail, Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Asad Umar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Shahzad Qasim for their time and support during this unprecedented situation at the meeting arranged at the direction of the Honorable Prime Minister.

The K-Electric delegation, led by CEO Moonis Abdullah Alvi apprised the Government representatives about the power supply related challenges that the company had been facing on account of erratic fuel supplies to KE and associated IPPs as well as inconsistent power supplies from Kannup and the wind corridor. He further highlighted that keeping in view the demand and supply situation, the power utility had planned ambitious investments which would see $ 2.0 billion spent on Karachi's power value chain, aimed to eliminate the power deficit in Karachi.

Asad Umar also assured that present government is committed to resolving all these issues on priority. He stressed that it was critical to resolve Karachi's power supply issues on a fast-tracked basis and that the federal government would diligently support the people of Karachi through prioritized supply of local FO and Gas at sufficient pressure which would allow KE to operate its plants at full capacity. This would be reinforced by expedited imports of Furnace Oil that are already underway after the due approvals from the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE). Minister also directed the National Transmission and Distribution Company (NTDC) to make necessary upgrades to its interconnections which would allow approximately 300MW or more additional power supply from the national grid as early as next year. The Government assured KE of their all-out support regarding approvals required to build interconnections to take additional power supply from the NTDC, for which Nepra approval and contractual modalities were still pending. At the same time, Minister stressed that KE needed to reach out to its consumers and make sure that their complaints/grievances are resolved on priority.

The K-Electric management shared the company's investment roadmap in two phases, one of which will come online before summer 2021. Moonis Alvi also presented options available for increase in power supply to bridge the demand and supply gap next year. He also shared that following the CCoE approval last month to supply 1400 MW additional electricity through the National Grid for which KE has already initiated work on building the required interconnections with a view to fast-tracking power evacuation as early as 2023. CEO K-Electric appreciated the Government of Pakistan delegation, and Minister for Energy, Omar Ayub Khan, for their unconditional support which would enable K-Electric to maximise its power supply and ensure that exempted customer categories including industries and residential customers are relieved from load-management.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020