The Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC)
management has surrendered its irrational steps for charging the
industrialists for shifting the meters outside of the premises.
In fact, the withdrawal of the KESC from its unjust
demand of charging the consumers was the result of a lengthy discussions
with the representatives of the industrial zones who had out-rightly
rejected the bills sent by the KESC for recovery of the expenses.
This decision of withdrawal was taken after the SITE
Association of Industries took up the matter in aggressive manners.
Earlier, the Associations of Korangi, Landhi and F. B. Area had accepted
the KESC demand to pay the cost of meter shifting which was estimated at
Rs60,000 to be paid by every unit.
Yet another phase of the talks between
representatives of the industry and the KESC which is going on is
expected to be more interesting.
Industry sources disclosed that they have chalked out
an action plan against poor performance and various issues related to
the quality of service would be taken up during next session.
Informed sources disclosed that KESC's Unit No-4, of
Korangi Thermal Power Station is out of order since July 2004, which had
resulted a shortfall of 90 MW in the generation capacity. Since than not
only the industrial units but all domestic consumers were facing the
agony of load shedding in the torturous summer heat but KESC did not
bother to take the consumers into confidence by disclosing the closure
of the Unit No. 4 of Korangi Thermal Power Station.
It may be mentioned that Unit-4 was creating problems
for a long time but KESC did not initiated steps for the replacement of
the bad unit or an essential task otherwise. The closure of one
transformer was not disclosed even in the meeting of Board of Investment
recently held at the Governor House. This lethargic negligence on the
part of the KESC is serious matter especially when the KESC is being
paid a huge fund worth Rs. 13 billion for the restructuring and
rehabilitation of transmission, distribution and the generation system
of the corporation.
Another serious matter which is being taken to task
is the "five percent commission to the KESC officials" from
the amount recovered through power theft detection. The KESC principal
information officer confirmed that five per cent amount was being given
to the officials at every level from the amount recovered through power
theft. However, he said that the decision of giving five per cent
commission amount was according to the decision approved by the KESC
board members. But he said that amount can not be told as that depends
on case to case basis and KESC finance division do not have any separate
detail of the commission amount. It may be mentioned here that power
theft was a top priority point in the KESC for which KESC was given
under the management of Pakistan Army.
Detecting power theft is the main task of KESC
management to reduce deficits. But till today, KESC has not declared a
single part of Karachi as, "Area without power theft".
Industrialists said that a corporation with 48 per
cent of losses could never run for long term, the losses at every level
including transmission and distribution losses, power theft etc are
there as they were from the day when KESC management was given to Army.
The issue of spending Rs. 13 billion grant from Federal Government has a
Pandora Box. Not a single task was completed with concrete steps.
And without any doubt that could be said that KESC
wasted Rs 13 billion which were double than the amount on which United
Bank was sold.
Another very interesting issue would also become
under hot debate as in many cases KESC has started again shifting meters
into the premises from outside for the safety or other proposes. The
domestic consumers again will have to pay the charges for this.
Another serious matter is coming up regarding not
repairing or replacing the faulty and old transformers of KESC, which
immediately need an urgent attention. This may cause further crisis to
the domestic, commercial and industrial consumers.
Dispute over installation of new meters may land the
KESC management into deep crisis, as there are general complaints that
the newly-installed meters are much faster as against the normal meters.
Although the KESC claims that these meters can be testified by the
mobile meter testing teams, yet the consumers have their serious
concerns that these mobile teams are hired by the KESC itself. The meter
testing process should be carried out by an impartial inspection company
having the trust of the consumers as well.
The matter is going to be taken up in the near future
by the commercial, industrial and domestic consumers jointly. The KESC
could not establish worthiness of the newly-installed meters which are
affecting more than five million consumers through inflated speed in
The matter was dealt in a low profile so far but
sources said that the issue might plunge KESC into the deep crisis in
near future. Details collected from the consumers revealed that in many
cases new meters were changed only within few days when they were found
The provision for providing power connection on fixed
charges which may be described as official Kunda is yet another gray
area which has opened doors for power theft at a massive scale under the
garb of fixed charges. It is learnt that those who were provided
official Kunda at fixed charges are operating as a power terminal and
selling power in the neighborhood and thus are minting money at the cost
of the genuine consumers who are forced to pay exorbitant power charges
to cover the losses on account of power theft. The KESC officials
generally give a lame excuse for providing official kunda that KESC has
brought illegal consumers into the domain of consumers who are paying
the bill. But it is a fact that these official kundas are not given to
every Tom and Harry. It is given only those who have the guts to please
the officials having authority to sanction the official Kunda.
It is strongly recommended that instead of providing
official Kunda, the KESC should provide meters if the corporation was
really serious to plug the leakage in its own fold.