SHC directs KE to end outages, remove illegal connections

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Expressing dismay over K-Electric and its lawyers, the Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the power utility’s management on Friday to end loadshedding and remove illegal connections from across the city. The directives were given by a two-member bench of the SHC, comprising Justice KhadimHussain M Shaikh and Justice ArshadHussain Khan, on a petition against unannounced loadshedding in exempted areas and illegal electricity connections. Justice Shaikh observed that everyone in Karachi was complaining about the power utility. “In such a situation, KE’s licence should be suspended,” he stated. The judge further observed that the lives of Karachi’s people have been rendered miserable by the power utility, adding the people have been inconvenienced by illegal connections and unannounced power outages. To this, KE’s lawyer responded that many areas had been cleared of illegal connections, whereas new wires had also been installed. However, Justice Shaikh remarked that the connections still existed, as did the menace of unannounced loadshedding. On July 17, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) JavedIqbal ordered, while taking notice of media reports and public complaints against the K-Electric, an inquiry against the power utility for flouting the agreement with the Government of Pakistan. He directed NAB Karachi to investigate reasons for unscheduled loadshedding, overbilling and violation of agreement. The agreement bound the K-Electric to invest in modernising the electricity generation and transmission system but it had failed to honour the agreement. Ever since the power outages began this summer, the private power utility has held the federal government responsible, claiming that the government is not providing it required quantity of oil and gas. However, the Ministry of Energy had repeatedly rebutted KE’s claims stating that K-Electric’s claims of fuel shortage were wrong, insisting instead that the power utility company has failed to enhance its system.

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