KARACHI - Power Outage Feared as KESC's Oil Supply Cut

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Title: Power Outage Feared as KESC's Oil Supply Cut

April 12, 2000

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Due to failure of the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) in making timely payment to the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) for the daily purchase of furnace oil, it is feared that a severe power crisis would take place in the city, causing prolonged or total suspension of the power supply from Wednesday afternoon.

While confirming that the KESC had failed to convince the PSO for resumption of oil supply, a spokesman for the corporation said that despite efforts and contacts with the PSO and other concerned a deadlock had prevailed on the issue of deferring payment for the time being and it was almost clear that at least two major electric generating plants, ie Bin Qasim Power Station and Korangi Thermal Power station would cease to function from Wednesday.

Sources in the KESC said that as soon as the two major power stations -- at present generating about 900 MW -- would stop, the entire system would be desynchronised to cause a complete power break down in the city. Once the system was out it would take another 14-18 hours to restart, they added.

Under an agreement with the PSO, the KESC used to pay an amount of Rs 400 million in advance every day for the daily supply of 4000-5000 metric tonnes of furnace oil, but a payment against supply could not be made due to Sunday holiday. Following which the PSO, on Monday, had warned the KESC for making payment or face the music.

The sources said the PSO did not supply oil to the KESC on Tuesday, and it was also adamant on discontinuing the supply for the days to come. The KESC reserves would be consumed by Wednesday morning, they said, adding that the matter had been brought into the notice of high authorities, including the federal government.

If the power supply broke down on Wednesday, it would be a serious blow to the civic life, particularly in the hot and humid days of the summer. Any prolonged interruption in power supply would ultimately disturb the water supply system in the city and the consequence was any body's guess, observed a senior citizen.

Regarding failures in the payment to the PSO, the sources said during the present days, recovery process had slowed down due to non-payment mainly by industrial consumers. The present peak hours power demand for the megalopolis was around 1,700 MW, which was met through supply from IPPS, Wapda, KESC's own gas turbines, and thermal and Bin Qasim stations, they added.



-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), April 12, 2000

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