COMPREHENSIVE PLANS TO COPEWITH POWER SHORTFALL
KESC UPGRADING TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM
Nov 03 - 09, 2008
The hue and cry raised by the people over load shedding and power breakdowns of long durations seems to have produced results as the KESC, which has been given the monopoly over a huge franchise area of Karachi, bigger than 70 countries of the world, is coming up with plans to add 400mw by June 2009.
Naveed Ismail new CEO the utility accompanied Farrukh Abbas, Chief of Abraaj Pakistan and all the senior squad of the management, said at a press briefing that company realizes the fact that power shortfall and interrupted supplies could harm the economic growth of the city which in turn might hurt the national economy as the contribution of Karachi is over 25 percent to the total GDP and around 67 percent of the total exports. Hence the utility is committed to play a positive role by contributing its share in the economic growth of the country especially in the present scenario of economic and financial crisis.
Working on these lines, KESC has completed its new unit of 220mw and the first phase of that project i.e. 88mw unit will come on line within a few days tentatively in the first week of November. Besides this valuable addition a rental power project has also become operational from today and will start injecting 50mw into the KESC grid system from today.
He regretted that the utility was inherited in a shabby state of affairs where the generation, transmission & distribution system has come to its age and need refurbishment at a massive scale. Out of 19 power generating units, 13 have already completed the designed life. The operation of such units which are in a dilapidated condition one should not expect better results rather they are not fuel efficient and generating costly power due to excessive consumption of fuel.
The new management has however a comprehensive plan to add new units initially 220mw has and another of 560mw besides putting the junk units into order this however will require time to achieve the targets.
Besides restructuring of the system, KESC has to overcome its financial liabilities as the utility suffering huge financial losses of Rs one billion per month besides carrying a balance sheet of accumulated losses of Rs51 billion.
In order to cope with the gigantic losses, KESC would be looking for cheaper fuel especially the coal fired system. Currently, the local coal fields are not fully developed especially in Thar however even the imported coal would be cheaper than the use of natural gas. KESC is also negotiating with all relevant organizations for clearance of outstanding dues besides timely payment of the current bills.
In order to handle the issue of line losses and power theft well thought out plans are under way which would help reducing the line losses by upgrading the grid system as well as by using underground cables to discourage Kundas. Things are in the pipe line and the consumers will feel the gradual change in the culture of the utility in all aspects, he assured.
Regarding complaints about over billing and faulty meters, he said that metering system is also under observation and soon things would take a new look, he assured.
Abraaj Pakistan , the new management of Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) before putting its money worth $361 million had detailed interaction with all political parties to seek their support for making the KESC a result oriented entity.
Farrukh Abbas, CEO Abraaj Pakistan carrying extensively international exposure and capacity to restore the companies from dilapidated conditions into perfection, mentioned in his brief remarks that he had detailed meetings with the leading political forces in Karachi, Raiwind, and Peshawar for their support prior to accepting the responsibility of running the KESC with a passion to turn it into a world class utility.
KESC in fact was inherited in extremely bad shape with shabby infrastructure and inefficient financial system as the company is suffering at least Rs900 to one billion per month besides accumulated losses of Rs51 billion in its balance sheet.
Actually, it is not the KESC alone which is suffering due to bad policies of the governments in the past but the consumers are also being punished for no fault due to inefficient and corrupt system in the past.
There are a number of untold stories regarding sufferings of the consumers. One of such stories was narrated by a women consumer in presence of top brass of the KESC that she was living in a rented house of Rs6000 per month but she was getting electricity bill of over Rs8000 per month which has forced her to look for another house to get rid of the inflated electricity bills.
The billing department has no heart to listen to the problems of the consumers; the faulty metering system has made the life miserable of the genuine consumers who have no courage of tempering the meters. The new management is however taking note of the situation and considering for a new metering system said the new chief Naveed Ismail.
Naveed said that the decision of 40 percent reduction in bills was taken for the time being and currently the government is considering the revised bills to make it rationale.
KESC which is currently being used as a tax collecting agency by the government gives a bad impression about the utility. In fact the KESC is collecting 4 taxes including withholding tax, income tax, etc for the government besides collecting Rs25 per month for PTV. Naveed said that KESC has taken up the matter with the government which says that the previous government made it the part of the finance bills and will require amendment through the parliament.
The new management as they said looks resolved to deliver and addressing the sufferings of the people of Karachi , a city which is bigger than 70 countries around the world.
KESC has a plan to inject at least 450mw by June next year while over a period of five years some 1000 mw be added into the system.
It seems that the hue and cry raised by the people over load shedding and power breakdowns of long durations have produced results as the KESC, has put its new unit of 220mw into operation which will be on line in the first week of November while a rental power unit of 50 mw has already gone into operations.