KARACHI: Several trade associations have issued a clarification after a video was uploaded by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) demanding to end the monopoly by K-Electric.
A joint statement has been issued by President Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) Saleem-uz-Zaman, President SITE Super Highway Association of Trade & industry (SSHATI) Engr. Nisar Ahmed, Founder President Bin Qasim Association of Trade & Industry (BQATI) Mian Mohammed Ahmed, and President Federal B. Area Association of Trade & Industry (FBATI) Mohammad Ali.
The seven trade unions stated that a video has been released by the KCCI on social media mentioning that all seven industrial associations have demanded to end KE’s monopoly. They clarified that a meeting was held at KCCI to discuss the concerns related to KE’s with trade and industry and its potential takeover by Shanghai Electric.
They clarified that participants of the meeting did not reach any decision and it was decided that a committee comprising of technical experts from each association and KCCI will review the concerns regarding discrimination against Karachi’s consumers and will come up with recommendations after deliberation.
The participants resolved that KE has significantly improved from the dark era of KESC, and any haphazard decisions might push it back which will have disastrous implications on the residents and industries of Karachi.
The industrial representatives generally agreed that K-Electric’s response time on complaints and accessibility had significantly improved and appreciated the company for its commitment to the industries of Karachi and the economy of Pakistan.
They appreciated the prime minister and his team for the decision to provide 2000 MW supply from NTDC for the residents and industries of Karachi which will end load shedding for industries.
In response to questions about the alleged unfair practice of charging Karachi’s customers higher electricity prices, it was verified from industries of other distribution companies (DISCOs) in Pakistan and a conclusion was reached that there is a uniform tariff policy across the country which exists only to prevent any discrimination between customers.
The condition of other state-owned DISCOs was also discussed whereby it was discussed that as per financial statements of companies like FESCO and MEPCO they were receiving subsidy which exceeded Rs100 billion and 200 billion respectively for the past five years but continued to post losses. It was stated that KE’s affairs were also looked over by NEPRA and the Ministry of Energy and it was posting a profit except in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The industry representatives also discussed unbundling of KE due in 2023 which was being assumed as a solution to the troubles of Karachi. They said it is the duty of the government to protect the interest of consumers in Karachi.
It was verified from technical consultants that there would still be no impact on any consumer’s bills even if the utility will be unbundled as the Uniform Tariff Policy remains in place across Pakistan to prevent discrimination but with a big risk of contributing to circular debt.
It was also stated that currently there is one company to blame in case of load shedding/faults and once divided, there will be blame game on all provider which will affect stable supply to industries. They urged the federal government to take all seven industrial associations into confidence before taking any decision on KE.
They said they disturbing the sale of KE to Shanghai Electric will ruin the image of the country and that will give a negative message to international investors who are observing the remarkable policies of the government and will drastically affect foreign direct investment.