Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) having an
installed capacity of 1756MW has to meet demand for over 1860mw of
Karachi, which is the commercial and industrial capital of the country.
Against its installed capacity, the KESC has an
actual production of over 14 MW while the shortfall is met through
purchasing 2.5 MW from two IPPs and some 300 MW from WAPDA. However,
demand for another 500 MW is pending due to shortfall in power
In the backdrop of huge generation, transmission and
distribution system, KESC has to feed its over 1.7 million consumers
under its franchise area. When established, KESC had to feed the power
needs of a handful of population in the early days of Pakistan.
However, during the course of time, the influx of
population from all corners of the country has made it one of the
largest cities of this region. Gradually, sailing on a smooth keel is
becoming very difficult for KESC as a result of growing number of
consumers, long transmission lines and dilapidated distribution system,
which has come to the age. The huge line losses, which are stated to be
in the region of 40 per cent, are mainly due to unmanageable size of the
consumers. The magnitude of the system also causes interruption in power
supply, billing management and proper and timely attention on the fault
complaints by the consumer.
Now the government is aiming to sell out this
corporation to the private sector. Although it may be a great temptation
for the new buyers to have a monopoly over such a large size of the
power market, yet it may add to the problems of the consumers due to
monopoly of one party.
Before privatization of the KESC, it is suggested
that the Corporation should be divided into four or five companies in
each district of the city. The division into 4 proposed companies would
not only make it easy to manage the affairs of the company but the
nuisance of power theft in the name of line losses would also be reduced
to zero level. The exorbitant power rates charged by KESC is again a
major cause of concern for the consumers who feel that the power charges
are not affordable for the majority of population falling in average
income group. The division of the corporation into four companies would
also lead to a healthy competition among the 4 companies, which would
also help bringing down the power rates.
Although it seems to be a complicated proposal in the
face of integrated transmission, distribution and generation system of
the KESC, however it is workable suggestion and if adopted would greatly
help improving the power supply system in Karachi.
According to KESC, the transmission and distribution
losses which were 40.23 per in 1999-2000 have been decreased to 36.81
per cent, however insiders feel that the figures of losses vary
frequently and the percentage of losses generally remain on the higher
It has almost completed a period of three years when
Army personnel were inducted into KESC. Although the presence of army
into KESC has made improvement in the recovery, distribution and
transmission system, yet the root cause of the problem i.e. power theft
still exist in the KESC system with its entire intensity. Consequently,
the genuine consumers have to suffer and pay the price of the power
stolen by the power thieves. If the leakage in the KESC system in the
form of power theft were plugged, the cost of power would be reduced
proportionately. The menace of power theft, it seems, could only be
removed when the area of operation of the utility company is reduced to
a manageable proportion.
KESC however claims to have succeeded in its efforts
towards the prime objective of providing maximum facilities to the
customers through regular supply of power, proper billing of the highest
number of consumer on actual meter reading and operation of round the
clock service centers. The improvement in the performance of the KESC
has significantly benefited the largest industrial and commercial
capital of the country.
There has been improvement in the overall performance
of the KESC, since the takeover of management of Army in May 1999 and
induction of Army Monitoring Team (AMT) on August 15, 2000. The
achievements in last two years indicate that the generation capacity
enhanced from 1,214 MW to 1,426 MW. All the generating units of Bin
Qasim have been converted to use of natural gas as a substitute to
reduce the input cost. As the furnace oil price is much higher than the
prices of natural gas, the previous gas quota of 40 MMCFD for Bin Qasim
units has now increased and around 80 per cent of thermal power
generation has been converted over to natural gas.
The previous gas quota of 40 MMCFD has been increased
by and by coming January it would be 176 MMCFD which would certainly be
a cost effective measure on the part of the KESC but how it would be
useful for the consumers has yet to be seen.
The revenue recovery position of the KESC has also
been improved. Total collection of the KESC, which was estimated Rs20.8
billion in the financial year 1998-99 jumped on to over Rs30 billion.