PM Khan-led government in Islamabad will resolve the country’s largest city Karachi’s power crisis during its tenure which in a month’s time will hit the two-year mark.
The PTI government has three more years to go at the center and seeks to address the country’s economic powerhouse and financial center’s loadshedding woes –Karachi is the capital of Sindh which is ruled by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for over a decade now.
During a discussion about the issue of persistent load shedding in the mega city, energy minister Omar Ayub told the National Assembly on Thursday that there is no solution to the load shedding in Karachi for two years because the power transmission system cannot bear the extra load.
The federal government was ready to provide more power to Karachi but K-Electric –an independent utility company which owns generation, transmission and distribution system of the metropolis, did not have a system ready to receive additional power.
According to some experts and professionals, the city’s sole power supplier which over the years has been profitably running the company, did not upgrade the distribution system — it’s the world’s largest according to observers. It has constraints at the same time to take additional electricity from the national grid due to transmission, evacuation issues.
“The federal government will help K-Electric build its capacity,” Ayub said.
Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar assured the Assembly that “the present government will implement in record time the project to improve power transmission and distribution system in Karachi.”
Since its privatization, K-Electric has not been able to provide uninterrupted power supply to its huge consumer base. The city of more than 20m also has the highest number of unauthorized power connections and distribution-related serviceability issues.
According to background interviews, the company has reportedly not been able to make full equity investment as per the privatization deal and it undertook some expansion projects by taking loans, which would eventually be recovered from the consumers.
Efforts to get K-Electric’s view on the situation went unanswered.
K-Electric’s sell-out deal to a Chinese utility company has remained stuck in legislative and post-sale-offer due diligence hoops. Its mother company Abraaj faced problems –unrelated to the deal though, and the long time lag has kept its management under no obligation to meet its original commitments, says an industry expert.
Heightened political temperature in the metropolitan city has the federal government worried. Karachi, a port city and a financial hub, provides maximum revenue stream to the center.