Caretaker Sindh Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar has urged the K-Electric (KE) to generate cheap electricity by using locally available fuel and renewable sources of energy so that people burdened by inflated power bills could heave a sigh of relief.
He also urged the power utility to guide its customers to use efficient appliances, including fans and LED bulbs, which consumed less power so that their power bills could be curtailed. The Interim CM was presiding over a meeting with KE officers on Monday to discuss the issues being faced by the power utility and work out a strategy for providing uninterrupted and cheap electricity to the people of Karachi.
The meeting was also attended by Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab, Principal Secretary to CM Agha Wasif, Finance Secretary Kazim Jatoi, Karachi Commissioner Saleem Rajput, Additional IG Karachi Khadim Rind, Energy Secretary Fayaz Abbasi, KE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Moonis Alvi and Tariq Shah of the energy department.
Justice (retd) Baqar said the KE should add local fuel-based electricity to its system so that power tariff could be reduced. The KE CEO informed the meeting that the power utility was going to add 2,172 megawatts (MW) of electricity in its production, including 1,182 MW, from renewable sources of energy.
Alvi told the CM that the tariff hike and power theft had shrunk power consumption by five per cent and decreased recoveries by 3.4 per cent. To this, the CM said additional ways and means should be explored to generate cheaper and affordable electricity.
The mayor said the Power Holding Limited (PHL) surcharge was applied to all customers across Pakistan to cover markup on loans taken on by the PHL - a government entity - for power sector-related investments.
He added that the KE had no contribution to this debt, but even then this surcharge was levied on the customers of Karachi as well. Wahab said he would file a suit before the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority as the mayor of Karachi.
The caretaker CM said he would also talk to the federal government to remove the burden of the Rs3.20 PHL surcharge from the electricity bills.
The KE chief said 174 instances of mob attacks on KE staff had been recorded lately and requested the authorities to provide protection to the employees of the power utility. To this, the CM directed the Karachi additional IG to provide protection to KE staff.
The Karachi police chief said KE had a separate police station with an SHO and ample police staff. The CM directed Additional IG Rind to ensure that the KE police station was operational.
Justice (retd) Baqar also directed the KE to ensure timely distribution of electricity bills so that customers could have a few days to pay them. The KE chief assured him that the distribution of bills would take place well in time to help the electricity consumers.
Visit to Mazar-e-Quaid
Justice (retd) Baqar has said that his interim government is fully committed to the cause of providing economic relief to the downtrodden people in the province in whatever limited duration it has.
He stated this on Monday while talking to the media at the Mazar-e-Quaid where he had gone with his cabinet members and Governor Kamran Tessori to pay respect to the Father of Nation on the occasion of his death anniversary.
The CM said that keeping in view the importance of the national day, the sufferings of the deprived people during the current dire situation should not be forgotten and the resolve to mitigate these sufferings should be renewed.
He added that September 11 should also be observed to reaffirm the commitment to adhere to the constitution and law of the land in making efforts to lessen the miseries of the people. To a question, Justice (retd) Baqar said his government was fully committed to eradicating the bandits in the riverine belt of Sindh and street crimes in urban parts of the province.
He said kidnapped persons had been recovered owing to the latest efforts of his government against the dacoits. Police had specially been deployed to conduct operations against the bandits, he added.
Meanwhile, the governor paid homage to the struggle and political principles of the Quaid-e-Azam. He said the people of Pakistan should fully follow the guiding principles of unity, faith and discipline.
He appealed to the affluent sections of society to help unemployed people and flood victims. Tessori said the government was fully committed to overcoming the lingering economic crisis in the country.