KESC attempts to please Senate body instead of users


Karachi Electric Supply Company has invited Senate’s standing committee on water and power to visit its recently constructed power plants in Karachi and personally witness the unprecedented investment made into the company’s network in a short span of time. Ghufran Atta Khan, Chief Engagement Officer, while addressing a news conference here, said that KESC had already written a letter to Senator Zahid Khan, Chairman of the Committee, inviting all its members. Khan expressed hope that a detailed briefing over the achievements by KESC would help clarify the reservations of the Committee members.
“It will indeed be an honor for us if the respectable Senators on the Committee accepted our invitation. We believe that we can create a cordial atmosphere through dialogue and devise better strategy to resolve the present energy crisis in the country,” he said, and added, “we are already taking a number of steps to continuously improve our performance and we shall be very much pleased to bring further improvement by working together with the government.”
Referring to the adverse remarks about CEO of KESC from the Senate’s Standing Committee members over the recent days, Mr Ghufran said that KESC had great respect for all the institutions including Senate and its standing committees. KESC, being a private entity having huge investment from foreign stakeholders, fully honored and abided by all the country’s laws. “We are fully aware of our responsibilities and it is our top priority to fulfill our commitments. Besides, we also recognize the basic rights of our company and the individuals connected to it.”
Concerning the Nov 6 meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee, Ghufran said that KESC had been asked to attend it and brief the participants in detail. The Chief Financial Officer & Company Secretary and two directors of KESC appeared before the Committee on that day with all the data and technical details. However, they were not allowed to speak. Instead of hearing them, the Committee insisted upon appearance of the CEO of KESC in person. Another meeting of the Committee was held on Nov. 8 in which a KESC director participated and informed the meeting that he was fully authorized by the Board of Directors to represent the Company and to provide answer to the questions of the Committee. However, again he was stopped from speaking. On both occasions, the senior KESC officers faced untoward and non-professional treatment in the presence of media persons which was quite condemnable.
Khan said that the insistence from the Committee over appearance of a particular person was quite meaningful. From KESC point of view, the Committee simply needed proper replies to its questions to which KESC had absolutely obliged. As per legal opinion, any duly authorized senior manager of the Company could represent KESC before any governmental or elected committee. Despite that, sensational statements had been issued to media which only meant to affect the reputation of KESC and its top management. Some Committee members tended to ignore the fact that the negative messages had not been serving Karachi or Pakistan in any manner. Such statements could rather adversely affect the investment possibilities, particularly the Rs 40 billion investment plan that KESC had presented only a day earlier. The capital for this investment would obviously arrive from national and international institutions and this would be very unfortunate for the country if these negative statements discouraged the potential investors.
Khan said that KESC has been the only organization in the power sector which has amplified the company’s capabilities through huge investment of One billion US dollars. Because of that, also due to the better organizational discipline, KESC’s performance has proved to be much better than other entities in the country. Over the past four years, national and international banks and financial institutions including IFC, ADB and OeKB have expressed full confidence in KESC. Though this confidence from its shareholders and financial institutions, KESC has been able to add 1,000 megawatts of electricity generation into its network, because great improvement in the transmission and distribution sections. “However, we understand that the journey of progress and moving forward still continues and that we have a long way to go.”
Ghufran said that KESC has presented an investment plan worth Rs. 40 billion aimed at improving the company’s performance, increase of electricity production and bringing down the cost of power generation. Khan said that KESC is an independent private entity and the management is responsible to its Board of Directors on all the related matters. Supreme Court of Pakistan has in its recent orders declared that KESC, after its privatization is having ownership of 73 per cent fully paid up shares with foreign investors since Nov. 11, 2005, does not fall into the definition of an “agency” which only means a Ministry, Division, Department, or office of the Federal Government or a statutory corporation or other institution established or controlled by the Federal Government. The order further said that KESC has its Board of Directors to run its affairs.