Karachi, which is country's industrial and commercial
hub, would continue to face crisis in productivity during next year as
the industrial sector was facing multiple problems in power sector
including cost of electricity which is on the higher side as compared to
rest of the country.
Industrialists and exporters who were appreciating
budget now feeling ridiculed as Karachi Electric Supply Corporation will
not implement the reduction in power tariff announced by Federal Finance
Minister Shaukat Aziz in budget speech. KESC would take its own time to
announce the reduction in electricity tariffs at its own convenience.
This sounds amazing that an announcement in the
federal budget regarding reduction in electricity tarriffs would be
applied only on WAPDA while it will not be applicable on KESC regime.
Although, only 58 paisas per unit was reduced for industrial consumers,
25 paisas were reduced for commercial consumers and only 10 paisa relief
for the domestic consumers yet that is too high for WAPDA consumers
while the KESC keeps a mum in this respect.
Increasing challenges for industrialists especially
exporters have increased when they have to fight with their competitors
and face WTO with crippled power supply system with higher cost. The
cost would not have been as serious hindrance in the productivity as if
power supply was good in quality and quantity.
Opinion leaders and experts said that only power
crisis in the commercial and industrial hub is consuming huge time and
manpower of the industrialists who need especial attention in production
They don't see any relief in the dilapidated power
supply system as crisis are further deepening every day. They have
serious objections over Rs. 13 billion grant given by the federal
government for "system improvement" of the KESC. They alleged
that transmission and distribution losses have been mixed into the power
theft account and huge amount was being spent over power meter shifting
from inside of the consumers premises to outside. The whole grant might
be spent on meter shifting of total 1.9 million consumers.
Another painful and objectionable issue of the affair
is the fast meters which are being replaced with existing meters with
very objectionable methods. At the one hand fast meters are being fixed
later shifted outside and than the KESC's own testing system. They said
how can an accuse party can test and decide about the credibility of the
meters. The KESC has not appointed any technical or electrical engineers
from consumer's side. They challenged the credibility of KESC's own
testing system which remained as an accuse of installing fast meters.
They further said that a fresh crisis erupted whenever consumers raised
voice over the issue. That is enough to prove the KESC's intention and
Nowadays a new problem of wire theft has arisen. In
many areas, power supply is now disrupted due to wire theft from the
KESC poles. The problem has erupted when temperature in Karachi has
slipped down due to weather change and consequently reduction in power
consumption. Increased power consumption during some time remains a
basic reason for power crisis. Industrialists said that another
justification is that there is "lead theft" from KESC
sub-stations that cause power outage in industrial areas. They said that
there is always one or the other reason for power disruption in Karachi.
Even high tension wires from KESC towers are stolen by unidentified
people. But remained untraced so far.
It may also be mentioned here that throughout from
the beginning, KESC never provided uninterrupted power supply but only
one to most important installation of KWSB at Gharo and Dhabeji from
where drinking water is supplied. At last, KWSB lost the hope from KESC
for providing uninterrupted power supply to pumping stations and
arranged its own generators so that Karachi could get uninterrupted
Industrial zones in Karachi, including SITE, Korangi,
Landhi, Federal B. Area and major commercial parts of Karachi should
have been taken first for system improvement instead of going into
entire Karachi, so that productivity could take off in a smooth and
trustworthy environment. At present, KESC is spending huge manpower and
finance in the Katchi Abadis where KESC can not generate revenue due to
nature of low consumption. KESC so far has not declared any part of the
Karachi either residential, commercial or industrial as model where KESC
could be claimed the area without power theft and transmission and
It is also learnt that fast meter issue will take
serious turn after KESC's privatization and bidding parties are
seriously examining the issue that they have to face after taking over.
However, industrialists don't see comfortable
environments for required productivity challenges during next fiscal
year as even after privatization corrective and professional steps
would, however, need some time for complicated power supply system of
Industrialists said that even now if power supply
system and power tariff which is the backbone for productivity of the
whole country is taken on its due status of priority that could minimize
hindrance to be faced in future by them. They said this is the high time
that not only Federal and Provincial governments but Federal Ministry of
Commerce and Industry and Board of Investment should come up to resolve
the matters in order to prove that they were really interested in
improving national economy.