KESC wants hike in power tariff


The Karachiites are braving prolonged power outages amid scorching heat, but the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) is planning to add to their woes by increasing power tariff.
The KESC, sources said, has proposed to NEPRA Rs 1.78 per unit hike in quarterly electricity rates on account of fuel adjustment charges. NEPRA would be weighing the KESC proposal in its June 3 hearing to be held at 10:30am at a hotel.
Sources claimed that given the fact that the KESC gets a monthly subsidy of Rs 6 billion from the federal government under the head of price differential it was unjustified for the utility to further burden the consumers in the name of fuel adjustment charges.
“They (KESC) just received around Rs 40 billion of subsidy for 6 months on March 31,” said they.
Sources said if approved by NEPRA, which is more likely to happen, the company’s current Rs 9 per unit tariff would climb to Rs 10.78 for domestic consumers using up to 300 units.
The overall impact, they said, varied for commercial and industrial consumers. The price hike came amid increased load shedding that has paralysed life in the financial capital of the country.
Sources said the city was facing a shortage of 300 to 350MW of electricity. Against the 2,200MW demand, the KESC was producing 1800-1900MW, which is inclusive of 650MW the utility receives ‘for free” from WAPDA.
Sources said the scarcity was artificial. They claimed the KESC had deliberately kept closed 5 of its 6 power generating units at Bin Qasim Power Plant.
“If they start running the 5 units each of them has the capacity to generate 160MW of electricity,” they said, adding, “In this case the KESC would lose 650MW it is receiving from Wapda for almost free.”
“The KESC even does not pay the Rs 3 per unit charges to WAPDA whose dues (against KESC) have accumulated to Rs 54 billion,” they claimed. The company, sources said, also owes Rs 44 billion to the SSGC on account of gas supplies. The KESC’s power producing plants are run on both furnace oil and gas, but the profit-conscious utility tends to avoid the usage of oil.
“This is unjustified! For increasing power tariff they first have to ensure the supply which is nowhere. We are burning in this hot summer with our fans not working for the want of power,” exclaimed Akbar Ahmed, who works at a private firm.
“I don’t know what of people they are. They say the shortage is artificial. It is hard to believe who is to be believed and who is not,” said Ahmed.