The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), which itself has to pay billions of rupees to the Pakistan Electric Power Company and other independent power producers, has threatened to discontinue the power supply to the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and has also served a final notice on the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to settle the dues outstanding against the water utility.

The warning was issued by KESC chief operating officer Jan Abbas Zaidi in a media briefing on Saturday.

The deadline set for the DHA, which owes it Rs15 million, ended on Saturday and the KESC confirmed in the evening that the DHA had not yet responded to its notice.

A spokesman for the DHA said he could not comment on the issue.

Mr Zaidi said the total amount outstanding against the public sector came to Rs13 billion.

The KESC has to resolve the debt issue with two IPPs to which it has to pay over Rs6 billion against the energy it has already acquired while Pepco is also pressing the utility to settle the circular debt. The KESC has expedited a disconnection drive in its efforts to recover power bills and arrears.

Mr Zaidi said that final notices had been served on a number of defaulting consumers like the Pakistan Steel, Karachi Port Trust and Customs. “The biggest defaulter is the KWSB,” he said, adding that the board’s authorities had been asked to respond to the final notice with a solid payment plan by the start of the next week.

The KESC recently suspended power supply to the board’s main pumping station to pressure it to pay back Rs8 billion dues. However, the matter was resolved when the board made a part payment a few hours later and promised to clear the remaining dues.

The power utility claimed that due to power theft on a large scale by domestic, industrial and other consumers, it had to carry out load-shedding even in industrial areas where it had been avoiding a disruption in the supply for long. It said that four-hour load-shedding was being carried out in such areas at night, ie 12 midnight to 4am. Residents of houses and flats in these areas, however, complained of outages running into eight to 10 hours daily.

By: Dawn News