Another thunderbolt hits Karachi, power tariff hiked by Rs2.89

By: News Desk      Published: 12:40 PM, 17 Jul, 2020
Another thunderbolt hits Karachi, power tariff hiked by Rs2.89

At a time when the people of Karachi are experiencing ‘unsolvable problems’ like hours-long loadshedding and overbilling, another thunderbolt hit them on Friday as they will now have to pay more for whatever electricity supply they are getting.

According to 24NewsHD TV channel, the NEPRA (National Electric Power Regulatory Authority) allowed the K-Electric to increase the tariff by Rs2.89 per unit for the people of Karachi. It means the consumers will face an additional burden of Rs70 billion.

The decision came despite the fact the K-Electric failed to satisfy the NEPRA’s fact finding committee on the power outages issue. The four-member panel will submit its report to the NEPRA bosses on July 18 (Saturday).

According to sources, the committee has expressed serious reservations over the transmission and distribution system of K-Electric.

It is expected that the NEPRA would make a final decision on the alarming issue in the next few days.  

Earlier on Thursday, 24NewsHD had reported that it seemed there was no one to rescue the millions of Karachiites as the K-Electric – the sole power generation and distribution entity to cover the port city and adjoining areas – is not ready to fix the affairs with the federal government limited to statements, allegations and promises only.

The people are facing hours-long power outages amid unbearably hot and humid weather while also have to cope with overbilling. And this fact has now been admitted the K-Electric at the highest level.

As the country’s financial and industrial hub is experiencing this chaotic situation with no end in sight, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) has now called for the resignation of Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar and Sindh Governor Imran Ismail.

One of the most interesting part is the protest staged by the ruling party members who have no idea that they are in the government.

The claims and assurances made by the government members and the protest by the citizens are of no use as the promise to end unannounced loadshedding by Asad and other government members remains unfulfilled.

As of Thursday, the areas like Ibrahim Haideri, Qayyumabad, Korangi and Landhi are experiencing loadshedding for eight hours while the localities along the coast face it for 12 hours a day. Meanwhile, there are many other neighbourhoods where up to 10 hours of outages are being carried out.

Meanwhile, the K-Electric certainly has a dual face and policy – one for marketing and other representing the actual performance. Its mobile app lists several areas as loadshedding-free but the mobile phone messages sent to the consumers in these localities are informing them about power outages.

But it is not just loadshedding as the issues like technical faults, snapped cables and out-of-order PMTs are also common.

Obviously, citizens are angry and saying that the promise made by Asad and Imran wasn’t materialised. And their frustration is multiplied by the fact that K-Electric is sending them bills with exaggerated payable amount. Neither the federal government nor any agency is ready to address our problem, the people of Karachi say.

With the worsening state of affairs, the utility can’t escape the responsibility or hide its performance. That’s why K-Electric CEO Moonis Alvi had to acknowledge that overbilling is a genuine issue. But the reason he cites is unacceptable. According to Alvi, the reason for overbilling is the inability to conduct meter reading amid lockdown.

Talking to 24NewsHD, the JI Karachi chief, Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, demanded immediate resignation of Asad and Imran while also announcing that they would stage protest and sit-ins over the loadshedding crisis.

On the other hand, Aamir Liaquat Hussain – one of ruling party’s National Assembly members elected from Karachi – in a tweet said that he would submit his resignation to Prime Minister Imran Khan over the issue. “I confess that I am a helpless MNA of Karachi,” he remarked.