City if lights is going through peak summers and as usual power outages, low voltages and over-billing, the routine that citizens of the metropolitan city have endured for many years. What would K-Electric (KE) do? Just PR stunts as usual. One might think had KE worked to improve the situation, why would it remain the same. Several localities in the city are braving 10-hours of scheduled power outages (load-shedding), and that is besides the unannounced power outages in the name of technical faults.  

Coming to the K-electric’s policy of collective punishment. There is a system of scheduled power outages. KE subjects localities/areas to load-shedding where there is lower recovery of electricity bills and theft. But, do all the consumers in such areas steal electricity and default on their electricity bills? Of-course not. Even if just 5% of consumers in such areas are honest and pay their bills intime, they would still be subjected to brutal power outages. What is their crime? What is their incentive of being responsible consumers?

Collective punishment, where entire communities suffer due to the actions of a few, is inherently unjust. Yet, this draconian policy persists, widely accepted as part of the status quo. Moreover, there is no load shedding in low-loss areas, so bill defaulters or thieves in such areas are actually benefitted.

KE is a business organization and their primary rather only concern is profits. They resorting to such a tactic is understandable. But how come the government allows this? How come the regulators ignore this policy? Why is the judiciary silent? Are they the beneficiary in some manner? These questions need to be asked and answered.

Regulatory bodies and the judiciary should actively scrutinize KE’s practices. Collective punishment should not be tacitly accepted; it should be challenged and rectified.

Karachi’s citizens deserve reliable electricity without bearing the burden of others’ misdeeds. As the mercury rises, so does the urgency for change. It’s time to dismantle the collective punishment paradigm and pave the way for a fairer, more accountable energy system.