NEPRA’s public hearing marred by chaos and disruption

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The hearing on public complaints against Karachi’s sole power supplier status was cut short by three hours, after angry citizens raised chants and disrupted the proceedings.

As per media reports, the hearing, organised by NEPRA at a local hotel in Karachi, was attended by many, including people associated with different industries, various stakeholders, and officials of the K-Electric.

According to activist Jibran Nasir, the hearing’s focus was to decide on “whether to end K-Electric’s exclusive rights to distribute electricity to Karachi and allow other players to compete in the market given KE’s failure to ensure safe and uninterrupted supply of electricity to Karachi”.

 

When a participant raised a question, NEPRA Chairperson Tauseef H. Farooqi said the K-Electric would be given a chance to speak first and present the company’s position, which exacerbated the resentment among the Karachiites who were present at the hearing to speak about their power woes.

Chants against the K-Electric rang out loud in the hearing, following which Farooqi adjourned hearing for 30 minutes, while K-Electric CEO Syed Moonis Abdullah Alvi left in a hurry after the NEPRA boss warned anyone not speaking in an orderly manner be kicked out of the hall.

The public outcry was strong, turning the hearing bitter and leading to harsh exchange of words between those at the panel and the aggrieved participants.

Earlier, addressing the hearing, KE CEO Alvi said the city’s sole power supplier had boosted power infrastructure by 104pc.

“The KE has reduced losses by 16pc and consumer growth has been 9pc,” he said, adding that the power supplying company has invested more than what was required under an agreement with NEPRA.

The company chief highlighted that there were “350 loss and very high loss feeders in Karachi”.

Speaking to the media later, KE CFO Aamir Ghaziani said the NEPRA organised the hearing “in the public interest”.

“We also want to talk about the public interest,” Ghaziani told the media. He said some 40pc of Karachi’s areas were unplanned and recovery from localities was therefore “very difficult”.

“We are providing electricity to neighbourhoods that are proper [in terms of planning], as well as areas that are exempted,” he added. “We were given time until 2023 in our licence.”

When a participant raised a question, NEPRA Chairperson Tauseef H. Farooqi said the K-Electric would be given a chance to speak first and present the company’s position, which exacerbated the resentment among the Karachiites who were present at the hearing to speak about their power woes.

Chants against the K-Electric rang out loud in the hearing, following which Farooqi adjourned hearing for 30 minutes, after the NEPRA boss warned anyone not speaking in an orderly manner be kicked out of the hall.

The public outcry was strong, turning the hearing bitter and leading to harsh exchange of words between those at the panel and the aggrieved participants.

 

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