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KARACHI: K-Electric upcoming 900 MW RLNG-based BQPS-III is proceeding as per expected timelines and the first unit of 450 MW is scheduled to come online by this summer.

Briefing journalists about K-Electric (KE), Sadia Dada Chief Marketing and communication officer, Imran Rana Director Communication and Noor Afshan Deputy Director Communication assured that there would be no load shedding in areas where recovery is better. However there would be load shedding in areas where power theft is higher.

They said that KE had anticipated the growing supply-demand shortfall as far back as FY16, and had developed a robust $4 billion investment plan which included several generation initiatives including a 700 MW coal-fired power plant as well as downstream transmission and distribution upgrades. However coal-fired 700 MW project awaits notification from the Government of Pakistan. Apart from this 350 MW of renewable energy projects are also in the pipeline.

Work on the 220 KV Dhabeji Grid and transmission lines has started and finalisation of contractual arrangements for the off-take of additional 1,400 MW from National Grid (including 450 MW from existing interconnections) is in advanced stages.

"While KE received approvals for its 900 MW RLNG power plant in FY19, of which phase one of 450 MW unit is expected to come on-stream by this summer, with a resultant improvement in Karachi's power supply situation," they added.

They further said that since 2009 it has invested over $2.4 billion in power infrastructure upgrades and additions which reduced transmission and distribution losses by over 17 percent, resulting in load-shedding exemption for over 70 percent of Karachi including all industrial zones.

They further stressed that the company remains committed to providing power supply to Karachi and that it has initiated work on building the required interconnections. The power utility is determined to execute it on a fast track and additional power to be made available by summer 2021.

They also briefed about key challenges to the sustainability of the company and project timelines. Foremost among these is the circular debt that threatens to derail the entire power sector. As of December 2020, KE's net receivables from various Federal and Provincial entities stood at around Rs77 billion on principal basis.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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