NAB chairman orders inquiry against KE for unannounced load-shedding, over-billing

National Accountability Bureau Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal has ordered an inquiry against power supply company K-Electric over excessive billing and loadshedding, according to a statement issued by the anti-graft body on Thursday.

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“The chairman has taken notice of media reports and public protests against overbilling and prolonged power outages in the metropolis,” read the statement.

The accountability watchdog said that the power supply company was supposed to make investment according to a pact with the federal government.

The NAB statement said that K-Electric is accused of not keeping its side of the bargain in the agreement with the government.

In his orders, Chairman Iqbal directed NAB Karachi chapter to obtain a copy of the agreement, saying the probe body will not let K-Electric to mint billions of rupees from consumers in overbilling.

He said that the NAB believes in accountability without prejudice and the KE will have to fulfil its obligations under the deal signed with the government.

Justice (retd) Iqbal ordered the NAB Karachi to complete the inquiry against the power supplier within three months.

He also asked the Karachi office to obtain relevant documents regarding investment and details of the agreement from the company.

K-Electric CEO apologises

Meanwhile, K-Electric (KE) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Moonis Alvi has apologised to the people of Karachi over prolonged power outages in the metropolis and accepted that the city had been witnessing load-shedding, which, according to him, had been happening quite more.

The reason of the load-shedding, according to the KE chief, was the high demand of 3,560 megawatts (MW) and in their best case scenario, the power utility, he said, generated 3,200 MWs.

Alvi assured the people of Karachi that the power generation would be improved in a few years. He added that in the next few days when the temperature would relent, the load-shedding would reduce.

Had the government approved a new 700MW power plant back in 2016, he said, Karachi’s power supply would have been better.

“In 2016, the power plant project had a setback due to technical reasons,” he said, explaining that the power utility company was asked to focus on power generation using the local variant of coal, whereas the ‘system’ was designed for the use of imported coal.

Minister warns KE of consequences

On Sunday, after a meeting with the KE management, Federal Minister Asad Umar warned the power utility to improve its performance else the government would take over the control of the company.

Later, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail also penned a letter to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) over K-Electric’s excessive billing requesting an audit into the complaints launched against the company.

The governor, in the letter, asked the NEPRA chairman to conduct a “thorough audit” of complaints lodged against the KE for excessive billing, and those which are found valid, be refunded “instantly”.

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