"The Metropolis has been facing load-shedding only because a big number of consumers have developed a habit of not paying their current bills. Today they owe us Rs. 36 billions. So far they have ignored our modest appeals. But media and the general public blame us for being soft towards them. Now we have decided not to play the role of a bank to subsidize non-payers any more. If a consumer does not have the funds to pay the bill, they should arrange the money, or face disconnection" he announced.
Citing the example of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Mr. Ismail said that the Board consumed electricity worth Rs. 250 million every month, which meant Rs. 3000 million a year. But, during the whole of past one year, it had paid only Rs. 150 million, which was just a very small part of the total amount. "We have been waiting and sending notices to the Board, on the consideration that this consumer supplies the most essential commodity like water to the City people, even though the KESC is not responsible of providing water to the citizens, but the KWSB is. But our softness has not worked, and there seems to be no end to the non-payment," he said, adding that "from the night between Friday and Saturday, a curtailment plan has been started by cutting the electricity supply at the KWSB's pumping stations for five hours. We shall be curtailing for more hours in the days to come, till the Board learns to pay its current bill in time."
He further said that the KWSB owed the KESC a huge amount of Rs. 8.2 billion in total. The KESC was still ready to work out a plan of payment for this money, to accommodate this major consumer, but there could be no compromise over the current bill any more. Similarly, he said, the Pakistan Steel had to pay Rs. 120 million of its unpaid bills. It had not responded to several notices. Therefore, on Saturday afternoon, the power supply to Pakistan Steel had been disconnected.
These two public sector institutions were not the only targets of the recovery drive, he continued. All the other non-paying organizations had also been sent final notices, including all town offices of the City which collectively owed Rs. 220 million to the KESC, and others including Utility Stores Corporation, National Shipping Corporation, Post Offices, Lyari Expressway, University Grants Commission, Coast Guards, Pakistan PWD, Forest Department, Excise & Taxation, Director of Agriculture, Directorate of Colleges, Central Prison, Manpower Training, Civil Hospital, City Court, District & Sessions Judge, Anti-Corruption Establishment, Labour Court, Social Welfare Department, EDOs of Health, High Education, Law, Revenue, Transport and Works; Sindh Workers Welfare Board, Auqaf and SITE. All these public sectors consumers owed KESC a total amount of Rs. 13 billion. The power supply to these and all other non-paying domestic, commercial and industrial consumers would also be disconnected in due course of time if the outstanding amount had not been paid, he said. The KESC direly needed this money, he said, to maintain non-stop power supply to the City.
He asked the media to expose the non-paying consumers who were actually responsible for the shortfall of electricity in the City. "If we are blamed for load-shedding, the non-payers should also be accused of creating the cause of electricity shortfall, in the eyes of the general public. If the citizens suffer because of water shortage, or any other facilities, they should be told who exactly is responsible," he remarked.
Mr. Naveed Ismail also came down hard upon the individuals and institutions involved in electricity theft and said that the load-shedding could stop today if everyone paid their bills and there had been no illegal use of power. The KESC had been running in loss because of these two major setbacks. Those responsible for these two evils were not only pushing the utility into deficit, but in fact had been making the life of their fellow citizens miserable for none of their fault, he added. "From now on, we shall also be very tough towards the electricity thieves. We shall publish their names in the newspapers and register FIRs against them," he stated.
Mr. Jan Abbas Zaidi, Chief Operating Officer Distribution, gave out operational update on this occasion. He said that the total demand of the City stood at 2177 megawatts while the KESC had been supplying 1997 MWs. Wapda had been providing 610 MWs while Independent Power Plants Tapal and Gul Ahmed were supplying 180 MWs. DHA-Cogen had also been supplying power to the KESC on trial basis.
Mr. Zaidi alerted the City consumers about the rising electricity demand in view of the mercury shooting up during the month of October and said there could be an increase of 50 megawatts in the total demand during this month. In reply to a question, he said that the KESC's generational capacity remained the same while the demand kept on fluctuating upwards and downwards with the change in weather conditions. In view of that, it was not possible for the utility to announce a schedule of load-shedding in advance. Mr. Abdus Sami, Deputy Chief Operating Officer Distribution, and Ms. Ayesha Eirabie, Director Corporate Communications, were also present in the briefing.