Karachi: A meeting to discuss a proposal to end the monopoly of K-Electric as the only electricity distribution company in Karachi was marred by protests as participants levelled charges against each other.
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) conducted the meeting at a hotel chaired by Tauseef H Farooqi, the NEPRA Chairman. The hearing remained inconclusive as its proceedings were adjourned due to pandemonium caused by heated exchange of arguments and noisy protests by some of the participants. The public hearing was important because of the recent incidents of massive breakdown in electric supply system of K-Electric in Karachi, several instances of deaths due to electrocution during monsoon rains, power outages due to persistent electricity shortfall, and complaints of the consumers regarding overbilling.
Speaking on the occasion, representative of businessmen of Karachi, Siraj Kassim Teli, said the traders were ready to establish a new power distribution company in the city if the government made the move to end the monopoly of K-Electric.
Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi, said the electric supply system of K-Electric in Karachi suffered a breakdown even if there were a few drops of rain. He said that citizens had to suffer power failures even when humidity level goes up.
He said that power consumers in Karachi had to suffer power outages even during winter on the pretext of gas shortfall faced by the power generation units of the company.
Naeem-ur-Rehman said over the years K-Electric had failed to transform its power generation units for electricity generation.
Khawaja Izharul Hassan, lawmaker of Muttahida Quami Movement, (MQM) said K-Electric had faced shortfall even during the recent lockdown in Karachi when most business and industrial activities were suspended.
He said that the Sindh Assembly had passed a unanimous resolution demanding the government to allow more power distribution companies in Karachi to end the monopoly of the K-Electric and safeguard the interests of the power consumers.
The proceedings witnessed an uproar when former Sindh governor Kamal Azfar alleged that the MQM had acted as a facilitator when the deal of privatisation of K-Electric had taken place during the regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. He said leaders of MQM had no right to talk on this issue due to their past role in the matter.
Chief Executive Officer of K-Electric, Moonis Abdullah Alvi, said that the management of K-Electric had made investments in the power utility more than its contractual obligations. He said the company had reduced losses in the system of electric supply by 16 per cent.