Currently, KESC's installed power generation capacity
is 1756MW while the actual capability comes to 1426MW that is also not
sustainable as most of the generating units have already come to their
age hence one or two units are usually remain closed for overhauling
purposes. Against this susceptible generating capacity, KESC has to meet
the power demand estimated around 1900 MW while requests demanding yet
another 500MW are pending which bring the total demand of the city to
2400mw which is increasing by 6 per cent every year.
Besides producing 1426MW from its own units, KESC has
to purchase about 250MW from two IPPs i.e. Gul Ahmed and Tapal Energy
and imports about 300MW from Wapda.
While this wide gap of almost 1000MW between demand
and supply is viewed as a source of concern on one hand, this becomes a
great source of attraction for the potential buyer of the KESC which is
on the agenda of privatization of the government. The existence of a
ready market at a massive scale of 2400 MW makes KESC as a gold mine for
the interested parties. However, the nuisance of 41 per cent line losses
mainly on account of power theft in the distribution network certainly
poses a challenge to the potential buyers. If the would-be buyers
managed to overcome the problem of line losses, KESC would certainly
prove a gold mine.
Since the induction of army into KESC system, the
management has however done a marvellous job of addressing the problem
of average billing which was another source of corruption in the KESC
network. Consequently, reduction of average billing from 60 per cent to
merely 17 per cent and addition of 182689 new consumers has improved the
cash flow to a large extent.
However dependence on others for meeting the
electricity needs this industrial city having a population of 15 million
plus still remains as a vulnerable area for the corporation.
Due embargo on putting in new generation units, KESC
had moved a proposal seeking permission from ministry of power for at
least two more IPPs in Karachi. PC-1 of the project of direct supply
from HUBCO has already with the government. Installation of a
transmission line and a grid station to receive power directly from
Hubco would require at least a period of one year to be operational
provided the government gives a go ahead signal to this project. It is
however yet to be seen whether the government carries out this project
on its own or leaves it to the new management of KESC after its
People at the helm of affairs have to take a decision
either to allow direct supply from HUBCO to KESC or installation of two
more IPPs so that KESC could operate independently.
Although Wapda provides a great support not only to
meet the much needed electrical energy which obviously helps KESC to
avoid load shedding, yet Wapda has to give priority to its own
consumers. In the prevailing system, KESC consumers have to suffer from
load-shedding or breakdowns whenever Wapda confronts with short supply
because Wapda has to prefer its own consumers and provide electricity to
KESC on its convenience.
Wapda has agreed to supply 300-megawatt (MW) to KESC
for nine months i.e. from March to November on the basis of two-part.
Under this arrangement Wapda would sell 300 MW of power on variable
rates to KESC. The flat rate would be charged on power supply over and
above the agreed 300MW from March to November.
In December, Wapda has committed to supply 200 MW but
expressed inability to entertain KESC's request in January and February
as the utility itself faces power shortage in these months due to high
consumption and low level of water at its thermal power producing
When asked how KESC would overcome the shortfall from
the month of February onward, sources in KESC were of the view that
January, February and March are not the months of peak demand. Most of
the A/Cs are switched off in these months due to good weather conditions
resulting in a considerable decline in the demand of power. This sounds
a lame excuse for organization like KESC which depending on assumptions
to meet the electricity demand and looking towards the weather
conditions. Uninterrupted supply of power is of course a pre-requisite
for sustainable economic growth. Hence, KESC has to be made
self-sufficient in power generation either through more IPPs,
installation of its own generating units or a direct supply line between
KESC and HUBCO.
It is learnt that power purchase agreement between
Wapda and KESC has been signed with a view to ensure power supply after
privatization to attract prospective investors.