Islamabad (April 22, 2018): Federal Minister for Power Awais Leghari assured the Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah that federal government is fully committed to a reasonable resolution of the issues which have resulted in the current power crisis in Karachi.
In his second letter to CM Sindh over the issue, he said that the “federal government has taken various measures to provide relief to the residents of Karachi, including the convening of multiple meetings between stakeholders for deciding upon urgent steps to be taken,”.
Leghari also mentioned: “The question of outstanding payables of Karachi Water and Sanitation Board are concerned, it may be noted that KWSB is the responsibility of the Government of Sindh on account of the 18th Amendment and such responsibility cannot be overridden by any contractual agreement.”He stressed that provincial government entities, including the KWSB, are also important stakeholders who cannot shirk their responsibility of paying for electric power services being provided to them.
“The resolution of issues therefore also involves an element of recognition and redressal of provincial government department defaults,” he wrote, adding “I, therefore, urge you to treat this as an issue of National importance which the residents, businesses, and industry of one of the most important cities of the country are at stake.”
A day before, Awais Leghari refused to provide gas to K-Electric until the power company pay-off dues worth billions.
In a statement, Awais Leghari advised Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who had written three letters to the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for provision of electricity to the province, to end electricity theft from the province instead of protesting. It is pertinent to mention here that the Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday wrote a letter the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to provide electricity to the Sindh including its provincial capital Karachi, that is suffering from over 10-hours load shedding in a day.
The chief minister has also threatened to skip the important meetings of the Council of Common Interests and National Economic Council if the excessive load shedding is not ended in the province.Jamaat-e-Islami and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) also staged sit-ins against K-Electric and the federal government over prolonged power outages in Karachi on Friday.
The power and gas companies are blaming each other for the crisis in the business hub of the country.
In statement on Wednesday, KE said the Nepra’s suggestion for higher gas supply supported the power utility’s stance that 500 megawatts of energy shortage was due to gas constraints but at the same time played down for technical reasons its inability to utilise spare generation capacity highlighted by the regulator.
The gas utility — SSGC — on the other hand claimed the Nepra’s findings “truly justify SSGC’s position” that KE used gas issue as a pretext for additional loadshedding instead of setting its priorities right.It accused the KE of neither clearing its outstanding dues worth Rs80 billion, or depositing Rs6bn security deposit as committed at a meeting under Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, nor entering into dialogue for signing a gas sales agreement (GSA)— a prerequisite for gas sales to any consumer.
The SSGC reiterated that gas shortage was not a surprise phenomenon and had repeatedly been brought to the notice of KE management to sign gas sales agreement because the original four-decade old agreement covered only 10 mmcfd while the actual gas supply is eight times higher. It said the gas company was following the government’s gas load management plan that gave priority to domestic consumers who have been increasing over the past 40 years.