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Nepra probe finds K-Electric responsible for Karachi power woes

ISLAMABAD: The Nati­onal Electric Power Regula­tory Authority (Nepra) has held K-Electric responsible for the ongoing power crisis in Karachi in its final report after completing the investigation.

The Nepra, however, asked the government to increase gas quota for the power utility to ease public suffering.

The power regulator’s findings came after a three-day visit of its special investigation team to Karachi. Nepra also decided to initiate legal proceedings against the K-Electric for violations of various responsibilities, including non-utilisation of its full power generation capacity.

The investigation committee highlighted that the load management carried out by K-Electric was beyond its claims and in addition to loadshedding on account of gas curtailment.

Nepra said: “The KE network also experienced faults adding to the unplanned loadshedding hours due to its fragile distribution system.”

At the same time, the regulator attributed the power crisis to lower gas availability than last year and asked the government, being a 24 per cent shareholder of KE, to increase gas supply to 190mmcfd (million cubic feet per day). It said the gas supply was 50-60mmcfd lower than last year against KE’s claim of about 100mmcfd.

“Nepra took serious notice of the above-mentioned violations and decided to initiate legal proceedings against K-Electric,” said the regulator.

According to K-Electric’s spokesperson Sadia Dada: “We await the full report on the subject but in our preliminary comments we feel that the advisory issued by Nepra to ensure 190mmcfd gas is made available to K-Electric it is a positive reinforcement which will certainly enable KE in restoring power supply to the city to routine.

“Based on information available in the statement it is pertinent to note that tariff on HSD (high speed diesel) is not determined. As already indicated in the statement, alternative fuel for gas-based plant has not been commissioned, therefore in the current state KE does not immediately have the option to use alternative fuel.”

Nepra said its five-member committee visited K-Electric from April 11 to 13 to investigate the unannounced loadshedding due to curtailment of gas supply by the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to KE owing to which consumers were suffering badly.

The committee held detailed discussions with KE officials, inspected main power generation plants and grid stations and conducted surveys of the relevant areas for response of general public.

Based on the committee’s observations, Nepra has sent an advisory to the government which has three members on the KE board for immediate restoration of gas supply of 190mmcfd to KE by SSGC.

Nepra directed K-Electric to immediately start the commissioning of KCCPP and BQPS-II on alternative fuel/HSD and complete it as early as possible.

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