K-Electric’s busiest people in the past week must have been the call centre agents and the twitter account handlers. Conductor breakage, transmission line tripping, 99 percent humidity, sudden surge in theft and what not; all these reasons have been thrown at irate consumers to explain why they are suffering at the hands of the utility provider.
It is time the KE administration wakes up from its slumber. And if it does not, someone else should. Four citywide power breakdowns in six days – is just not acceptable – under any circumstances. Yes, the mercury is high, demand is even higher – but sending the metropolis into complete darkness can surely not be the outcome.
Sadly, both the federal and provincial governments have little political presence (and therefore nothing to gain politically) in Karachi – a bitter reality, which does have a saying in why such a horrific month has gone by without much happening. No doubt the city administration could do better than this – commercial activities can be managed much better and that does not necessarily mean shutting the markets down early.
But then KE’s problem has never been the commercial and industrial user. It is surprising for some that the last four breakdowns have happened in the late hours of night – when commercial activities largely come to a halt. KE officials blame it high humidity. Without going into technical details, surely there must be ways out there to deal with such levels of humidity and that Karachi cannot be the most humid city on earth.
The criticism on KE should not be confused with it being a privatized entity. The real issue is that there are visible shortcomings in the system and the regulator cannot take a backseat – especially when the stakes are so high. Finger pointing needs to stop now and instead of passing the buck of ‘you owe me this and I owe you that’ – it is time the regulator and KE sit on the table.
Surely, the system needs some massive overhaul or up gradation. The expected improvement in weather conditions must not become a tool for delaying the inevitable – i.e. investment in the system.