Karachiites protest against long hours of loadshedding

KARACHI — Residents of several localities of Karachi came out on roads on Saturday to protest against 10 to 12 hours of loadshedding by the privately-owned utility provider, Karachi Electricity Supply Company (KESC).

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Published: Sun 25 Sep 2011, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:57 AM

On top of that, the KESC warned the hapless consumers of even longer hours of loadshedding due to further reduction in gas supply by the public sector Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC).

The KESC strongly condemned the “unilateral” SSGC decision to cut gas supply to the power utility by 20 MMCFD, saying that it would add to the hardships of 20 million people of Karachi already facing extensive power outages.

Angry consumers blocked roads, burnt tyres and attacked KESC sub-stations and offices in several localities of the city to vent their frustration, a scenario now a common sight for the past several years due to the failure of KESC to provide uniterrupted power to the customers. In some places law enforcers were called in to disperse the protesters.

Strangely enough the three major stakeholders of the city, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and coalition partner, the Awami National Party (ANP), are doing nothing to ease the problem which was not only being felt by more than 15 million domestic consumers of the city but by the industrialists and small traders.

During the last few days the city’s top industrialists met army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to complain about lack of power supply due to which they were losing millions of rupees worth of production hours every day and facing difficulties in meeting export orders.

“Continuing short supply of gas has already forced closure of gas-fired generation units, doubling loadshedding duration. The mounting public anger and mob attacks on the utility’s business and maintenance offices has become a big issue for the KESC, and the SSGC is actually responsible (for the situation),” the KESC management said.

The KESC apprehended that public reaction might worsen with the fresh SSGC reduction of 20 MMCFD in gas supply. “This crisis could be avoided and the SSGC could be better off financially and operationally by implementing the June 30 Cabinet decision on gas load management.”

The SSGC on the other rubbished KESC claim and stated that it was providing gas according to the agreed formula although the KESC still owed more than Rs30billion.

While contradicting the SSGC claim of outstanding amount, the KESC said that since the meeting at the Governor’s House on July 29, the power utility had paid almost Rs15 billion to the SSGC and PSO combined, including Rs3.2 billion for the past arrears.


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