Karachi’s power crisis

There is no respite from unannounced and prolonged loadshedding in Karachi and citizens seem to be losing patience. This has reached the top corridors of power who have vowed to resolve the matter.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken notice of the power outages and there were heated arguments in parliament. K-Electric, the sole power distributor in Karachi, has blamed the shortage of furnace oil for the crisis. The company has been blamed for having an ineffective transmission system which has not been updated for decades.
The federal power regulator NEPRA conducted an open court where K-Electric was taken to task. The power company has said that loadshedding will not end anytime soon. The electricity demand has reached 3,000 MW whereas the company only has the capacity to produce 2,500 MW. Despite years of reforms and privatization, K-Electric has failed to ensure the supply of electricity.
The current phase of loadshedding is expected to end on July 16 as a ship carrying furnace oil will reach Karachi. The power utility is being blamed for not planning in advance and stocking on furnace oil. Citizens have complained of receiving inflated bills and even cases lodged against them. Their miseries have worsened amid the coronavirus pandemic and sweltering temperatures.
The government has decided to provide gas to K-Electric until the furnace oil crisis is resolved. The supply of additional gas means that industries will not receive gas supply and many will be shut down. Industry leaders are disappointed and have urged to government to review its decision, saying that it will harm the local businesses already facing a crisis.
There are now a large number of stakeholders that have joined the fray. K-Electric has blamed the federal government for not providing additional electricity from the national grid. The company has even refused to take responsibility for the recent loadshedding saying it is not at fault. The Sindh government has stepped aside and said K-Electric is not under its control.
The current power crisis is the result of mismanagement and inefficient planning. The power company has a monopoly over electricity distribution and must be held accountable. The residents of Karachi need to be given respite from prolonged loadshedding which has affected their lives and livelihoods.
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