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Karachi’s power consumers paying huge cost of KE-SSGC rift

Karachi’s power

Image: File

KARACHI: The electricity in January is going to cost Karachi consumers way more, as the power utility has expressed its inability to produce cheaper electricity due to gas shortages.

The K-Electric has sought an increase of 32 paisas/kWh in consumer tariff for November under the fuel cost adjustment (FCA), which is in addition to Rs5.182/kWh under quarterly adjustment ended September 2021.

“The chronic gas shortage will hamper the company’s ability to produce cheaper electricity that may adversely impact the consumers,” the K-Electric noted in a statement.

However, a spokesperson for the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) said the utility is currently supplying the allocated supply of 35mmcfd re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) to KE on the premise that the power utility had more than sufficient stock of furnace oil.

“In fact, the current volume was mutually agreed between the Ministry of Energy (MoE), KE and SSGC.”

Whether it is low gas pressure or rising over-dues, the blame-game between the two utilities is not new. In the tit for tat statements and social media posts, the two companies keep fighting, while consumers suffer, which was duly noticed by the electricity regulator.

“The residents of Karachi are suffering due to a fight between [the] Sui Southern Gas Company and K-Electric,” Tauseef Farooqui, chairman of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) said over the delay in the signing of a gas supply agreement between both companies in June this year.

In a statement, the K-Electric noted the company was currently facing an acute gas shortage and receiving only 35mmcfd.

“While the utility continues to provide uninterrupted power supply to the city by generating electricity through alternative fuels under [the] Economic Merit Order (EMO), this chronic gas shortage is hampering the company’s ability to produce cheaper electricity that may adversely impact the consumers.”

The KE official said: “In the broader interest of [the] consumers, [the] KE has requested SSGC to immediately restore the gas supply as per the requirement, otherwise, the utility will be left with no other option but to produce power from expensive alternative fuels to keep the city energised.”

In response, the SSGC spokesperson said the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) has taken an outage on 500kV and restricted the K-Electric to 650kV, which was causing a shortage in K-Electric’s system. “Shifting blame to SSGC for gas shortage is highly contradictory on [the] part of K-Electric”.

According to Nepra, the generation cost of the K-Electric is higher than elsewhere in the country, while there is a generation surplus in the country but there is deficit in the K-Electric due to a variety of reasons.

The Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA-G) has been providing 600MW to K-Electric to meet its deficit, which is between 400MW and 500MW, despite supplies from CPPA-G.

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