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Karachi outages: govt mulls legal action against discom

Karachi , July 14: With outages becoming too frequent here, the government was mulling legal action against Karachi Electric, the sole power distribution company (discom) in Pakistan’s biggest city, a senior minister in the provincial government of the Southern Sindh province said.

After the fourth major power breakdown occurred in a week’s time in Karachi on Sunday night, information minister Sharjeel Memon yesterday told media that if the KE top management is found guilty of negligence and incompetence the government will “arrest the company’s management if need be.”

KE, a private company now operated by a UAE-based conglomerate, has said that the power breakdowns had occurred due to technical faults – the result of old transmission lines and grids.

“KE officials are coming up with one excuse after another and this is not acceptable. The major power breakdowns have become too frequent and majority areas of the city are going without power for hours on end,” Memon said.

“It is a pity all this is happening in summer and during the month of Ramazan,” he added.

The information minister said the Sindh government was now “seriously mulling legal action against K-Electric for its deteriorating performance.”

“It is not only incompetence and malintention on part of K-Electric, it borders on ‘criminal negligence’,” said the minister referring to the frequent blackouts in Pakistan’s largest city.

He claimed that the KE was generating revenue of around Rs 16 billion and they were apparently not investing into improving the infrastructure.

“Even if they invest half of this amount power breakdowns can be tackled,” he claimed.

Memon also blamed the federal government for not giving priority to the power crisis in Karachi despite the city being the financial hub of the country.

Around 1,300 people died during the first week of Ramazan last month due to a unusual lasting heat wave which coupled with frequent power breakdowns made the life of Karachites totally miserable.