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Regionalism: Provinces support proposal to divert power from KESC

Balochistan and Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa (K-P) have voiced their support to a proposal put forward by Punjab, which seeks to cut power to the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) currently being supplied by the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC).

Punjab wishes to curtail 650 megawatts (MW) of power supplied to KESC in order to enhance its own provincial share of power supply.

Sources told The Express Tribune that Punjab once again reiterated the demand in a meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI)’s Committee on Equitable Distribution of Electricity, which was held on September 10.

“Balochistan and K-P endorsed the proposal, which called for power supplied by the NTDC to KESC to be curtailed and diverted to the national grid, in a bid to overcome the energy crisis,” one of the participants of the meeting said.

However, he said that the committee made no formal proposal in this regard, and that the observations of the provinces would be tabled before the CCI, which will decide whether KESC’s power supply should be curtailed or not.

Representatives of the three provinces were of the view that since KESC had been privatised, it was now its responsibility to generate power from its own plants to meet requirements of consumers in Karachi.

However, Sindh was of the view that a cut in power supply to the KESC would add to the misery of Karachiites, resulting in eight more hours of load-shedding. Representatives also said that the KESC had a legally-binding agreement with the NTDC, which guaranteed it 650MW of electricity supply until 2015.

Nevertheless, there was consensus in the meeting that the energy crisis was a national issue, and can only be resolved through the joint efforts of the federal and provincial governments.

During the meeting, the provinces agreed in-principle to a proposal to invest in large-scale hydroelectric power generation projects. An in-principle agreement was also reached on a proposal that said a percentage of the provincial development budget be allocated by provinces for hydel, alternative and coal power projects.

Provinces also informed the attendees that a police force will be deputed in distribution companies’ headquarters, in order to help in relevant matters and to file cases against power theft under the respective company’s jurisdiction.

The meeting was also informed regarding an arrangement with the KESC for priority utilisation of 300MW idle generation capacity at its power plants.

Attendees were also given briefings on possible management of distribution companies by provincial governments; enforcement of the draft Electricity Act, 2012; participation of provinces in Thar Coal development; the conversion of street lights to solar power; and the National Energy Conservation Bill.

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