Frequent power breakdowns which have become a regular summer
feature over the years in Karachi causing trade and industry losses running in
billions of rupees besides loss of investors' confidence due to unreliable
infrastructure facilities in this largest city generally called as the
commercial capital of this country.
The output of the industrial areas in different parts of the
city has reduced substantially due to loss of work hours on account of
suspension of power supplies every day.
The pinch of the power failures is more painful in view of
inability of the public sector to overcome the power crisis despite having all
resources at their disposal. Consequently, even the best economic policies and
decisions taken by any governments may go in vain due to ever depleting
On one hand, WAPDA & KESC always demand for increase in
electricity charges, the highest in this region publicly admitted by the high
ups of the power companies, the quality of power supply continue to worsen,
generally during the summer days. The captive consumers have no choice but to
suffer the hardships due to breakdowns and load shedding and pay more on the
other hand, what a funny situation.
The trade and industry has urged the government to take
immediate remedial steps to improve electric supply specially during working
hours when maximum industrial commercial activity takes place.
Frequent breakdowns, it may be mentioned, have proved to be a
windfall for power generator trade, as the generators have become the most
sought after equipment especially in the trade circles.
The price of petrol and diesel generators have registered a
10 to 15 per cent jump over the last few days due to power crisis faced by
Karachi. The persistent power crisis has also disturbed the students especially
those preparing for their metric exams currently going-on and inters exams
scheduled for next month.
The current spell of load shedding or breakdowns is the
chronic problem being faced by the people of this city for over a decade. During
all these years, the KESC officials have changed their instance many times. In
the early years they would say that they were forced to resort to load shedding
due to short supply. After induction of private sector for power generation,
they said that load shedding is due to depleted transmission system which has
come to its age i.e. 30 years of installation. When their attention was drawn
towards billions of rupees borrowed for rehabilitation of the transmission and
distribution system, they once again shifted from T/D system to shortage of
Karachi needs around 17-18 mw of power during peak hours,
while the total generation including from two IPPs i.e. Gul Ahmed and Tapal
under KESC's licensed area comes to 14-14.5 mw. The short supply of 3.5 mw is
not a big deal if one is determined to resolve the problem. A permanent solution
to the power crisis has to be found at the earliest because the day in resolving
the problem might result in losing the enormous opportunities knocking at the
door in the shape of foreign investment especially in the IT sector. An
un-interrupted power supply becomes of vital importance when the government as
well as the private sector are making collective efforts to develop a strong IT
base in Pakistan.
Overwhelming enthusiasm generated by recently concluded ITCN
Asia 2001 especially among the youngsters gives a strong signal that the nation
has accepted the challenge to make Pakistan an IT power on the world map.
The extra ordinary long queues of the keen visitors, both
boys and girls standing under the scorching sun just to have glimpses of the
exhibition proves that they have chosen the direction. Those at the helm of
affairs are now required to translate their energies and enthusiasm into an
effective IT force.
Although the KESC officials had claimed that load shedding
had to be accentuated following increase in power demand up to 1775mw, the
promise however has yet to be fulfilled. The demand for power had been
increasing in the peak hours is estimated at 1775 mw leaving a gap of around 350
mw. Reason for shortfall in supply is stated to be the damage of two
transformers located at Jamshoro.
KESC hopes to overcome the problem soon after the replacement
of the damaged transformers. Earlier, KESC had given March 28 deadline for
partial resumption of power supply from the national grid to Karachi.
Leading electricity consumers in the industrial sector are of
the opinion that continuous dependence on WAPDA to meet the shortfall in power
generation is something very serious in view of the repeated experience of
tripping the WAPDA system in the past. KESC has to develop supply resources
within its licensed area to avoid abrupt suspension of power supply borrowed
from WAPDA on one account or the other. The beggars cannot be the chooser.