Frequent power failures further swell KE critics

Karachi: With four major electricity breakdown in the city in eight days, Karachiites faced immense problems on Monday as many areas plunged into darkness on the night between Sunday and Monday and people prepared and had their Sehri in darkness.

However, the KE sources first denied any major breakdown and later it was said that due to tripping of units at Bin Qasim power station many areas of the city faced power outages.

A KE release blamed humidity for the latest power failure. A KE release said high levels of humidity caused tripping and initially 10 out of 64 Grid stations were affected. The outage in Karachi occurred due to a tripping on the Bin Qasim/Pipri 220 KV transmission line due to high humidity levels. The NDTC transmission line faced a similar issue last night as the current humidity levels are up to 99 per cent in the area of Pipri.

The release said that around 11th Saturday night the 220kv BQ- Pipri Circuit-4 tripped due to high humidity. There was a breakage of earth wire which also fell on the other Circuit on same tower and tripped it as well. As a result the remaining circuits 1 and 2 also tripped. With this, South side of KE network disconnected from North side of KE network.

It said following the tripping of the circuits the Bin Qasim power station 2 also tripped, however BQ1 units continued to dispatch. North side grid were not connected to National grid due to breakdown of 500kv circuits between Dadu and Jamshoroo which occurred on the 7th of July.

KE was also unable to connect South side BQ generation with North side NTDC generation as two critical NTDC 500kv circuits (Hubco-Jamshoro and NKI-Jamshoro) also tripped (due to high humidity) rendering North side system even more vulnerable.

It continued that the high levels of humidity were a hindrance in the quick restoration process; heavy winds in vast fields deposit excessive dust residue on transmission lines which due to humidity turns into grimy clay like substance. The moist soil cannot be removed until the heat of the sun dries the soil for it to turn into dust again. KE team using its resources at best combat high humidity conditions in restoring power supply to the citizens of Karachi.

KE spokesperson also added, ‘K-Electric has made every effort to rapidly resume power and restored it in the morning and is committed to uphold its promise of quality services in challenging circumstances such as these.

However, by Sunday noon the electricity was restored in the city.

After becoming KE from notorious KESC, the KE s added the words ‘Energy that Moves Life’ to it logo, but many critics think it is Lack of Energy that Paralyzes Life in Karachi. They think KE should focus on improving its basic services to win customers’ satisfaction. Many cynic Karachiites see the KE as a cruse for Karachi. Though there were not many admirers of the KE performance but the frequent power failures have further increased the number of KE critics.

However, KE feels it is serving the city in a better way after its ‘turnaround’.

Before resignation after about two thousands deaths in Karachi in heat-wave coupled with load shedding Tabish Gauhar, Chairman KE and Partner and Country Head of The Abraaj Group had told the 9th CEO Summit Asia 2015: “K-Electric’s turnaround from a loss making entity into a profitable one is a story of sustained optimism and unwavering determination that set a benchmark for state-run power entities in the country.”

He said the company’s turnaround was marked by efficient business operations, financial growth and a reputational advancement for the ailing power company. “Over the past 6 years, we have turned a distressed organization to a more customer-oriented entity that has led us to change the perception of the masses towards the company into a caring company.”

Gauhar further cited that KE’s turnaround has not only stirred the country but its success echoes at international levels. The Harvard Business School teaches a case study on K-Electric’s excellence and revival since its privatization under the course ‘Corporate Turnarounds’.

Irrespective of the Harvard Business School teaches a case study on K-Electric’s excellence or not, majority of the citizens of Karachi do not see any tangible improvement in their lives as the load shedding periods have further increased after the privatization of the KESC, so it’s power tariff.

Now many political parties including Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) are openly demanded re-nationalization of this main urban utility entity. Even the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) that in past had shown relatively soft corner for the privatized KESC has showed dissatisfaction with the ongoing performance of the KE.

In his telephonic address from London to his party workers in Karachi MQM Chief Altaf Hussain Sunday warned the K-Electric to either to rid the metropolis of load shedding or pack its bags.

He announced that his party’s coordination committee will soon announce a protest demonstration against the K-Electric.