Karachi: As part of its wider corporate sustainability and community engagement efforts, K-Electric (KE) has launched the Sarbulandi initiative, a PKR 10 billion investment in power distribution infrastructure for those parts of Karachi which suffer from the societal menace of power theft. With the vision of eradicating power-theft and the resultant segmented load-shed in Karachi, the Sarbulandi initiative aims to strengthen network health and theft resistance by installation of insulated Aerial Bundled Cables (ABC). This will result in the provision of safe and reliable electricity for the most economically vulnerable communities of Karachi and move the city closer to a load-shed free reality.
Under the umbrella of Sarbulandi, KE will positively engage with and benefit over ten million people through community upliftment initiatives such as provision of clean drinking water, clean up drives, hosting of health camps and rehabilitation of basic infrastructure. These efforts will be supplemented by bill payment support in the form of rebates and instalments to facilitate customers in their transition to regular bill payments. In addition, as part of its commitment to the economic empowerment of the communities that it operates in, K-Electric has committed to hire for over 800 different positions from areas where this initiative is underway.
In the first phase of this project, six high loss areas were brought under the ambit of Sarbulandi including Korangi, Landhi, Orangi, Surjani, Nazimabad and Liaquatabad resulting in reduced load-shed duration for these areas by upto 4.6 hours on average. Over 1,000 Pole Mounted Transformers have been converted to ABC, while low-cost meters have been provided to over 100,000 customers alongside a PKR 2 billion in billing relief to these consumers. Including the 8000 people who have received free medical treatments at healthcare camps organized by KE, over five million inhabitants have been benefitted through this initiative thus far.
Following the successful conversion of these high-loss areas to low loss or medium loss, another six areas have been added to the list and work is underway with planned completion by end of FY 2021. Under the second phase, Baldia, Gadap, Malir, Lyari, and the remaining sectors of Orangi and Surjani will be shifted to lower power-theft and loss categories.
The Sarbulandi locations are located around Karachi’s periphery, accounting for a significant portion of the city’s density and landmass. Utility operations in many of these areas are challenged by the unplanned, high density population pockets marked with encroachments and accessibility issues, low incomes and resultant low payment propensity of customers, and high rates of power theft and law and order concerns for KE employees. Despite these challenges, KE teams are committed to the provision of safe and reliable power supply to these areas and continue to uplift socio-economic prosperity of these areas through strengthened access to safe and reliable power.