KARACHI: Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) & Former President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Siraj Kassam Teli, while strongly criticizing K-Electric over excessive load shedding and its failure to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply since 2005 when KESC was privatized, stated that as KE’s agreement is going to expire in 2023, the next agreement has to be prudently drafted in such a manner that it puts an end to the monopoly currently being enjoyed by KE.
“Under the existing agreement, K-Electric, since its privatization, has been monopolizing the entire power generation and distribution network of Karachi without any fear of competition but it is high time that this monopoly must be ended as it gives the freedom to KE to fearlessly exploit the poor masses who are going through prolonged and unannounced load shedding for several hours throughout the day and even at night during the ongoing sizzling summer season”, he added.
In a statement issued, Chairman BMG said that the government is also involved in negotiations between KE and Shanghai Electric China which intends to acquire 66.4 percent of KE’s total issued share capital but either Shanghai Electric takes over or the current possessors retain KE’s control in future, the existing agreement with the utility service provider is unacceptable and it has to be revisited at any cost. “It has been a terrible experience for Karachiites after KE’s privatization as the agreement with the Utility Service Provider, which has never been publicly disclosed, contained glaring loopholes and faults. Hence, the next agreement must address all these loopholes and faults, besides leaving no room for monopolization. Because of KE’s monopoly, the consumers have no other option but to bear exploitation by KE. The end to KE’s monopoly would certainly engage other companies in the power generation & distribution sector, trigger competition and give consumer the freedom to choose either KE or any other Utility Service Provider whoever is capable of fully satisfying their demand.
He was of the opinion that keeping in view the huge population and size of Karachi city, the entire power generation & distribution network of Karachi has to be divided between three to four electricity suppliers so that not only KE but other companies could also be brought into the field for fulfilling the electricity demand in different areas and they should also not be able to monopolize.
“We hope that the government pays attention to this serious issue at the earliest and takes concrete steps to minimize the hardships being suffered by the citizens and the business & industrial community of the largest city of Pakistan which continues to contribute a mammoth chunk of more than 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer despite facing a number of challenges”, Chairman BMG added.
President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan urged KE to immediately stop the ongoing load shedding spell and focus on improving the infrastructure, particularly power generation capacity and distribution network which is in a terrible state.
He said that due to KE’s poor performance, almost all the localities of Karachi and also the seven industrial zones have to suffer unannounced load shedding and power failures every day for many hours that results in substantial losses. “The unannounced and prolonged load shedding by KE would prove to be the last nail in the coffin of industries and the economy”, he added.