In another blow to Pakistan’s ailing textile sector, the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) has begun disconnecting firms with backup power generating facilities from the national grid.
Companies using less than 50% of their allocated load are subject to disconnection, according to KESC. The disconnections are intended to increase load utilization, but are likely to cause chaos within the textile and garment industry.
KESC is rarely able to meet the needs of its industrial customers, subjecting them to heavy load shedding that disrupts industrial processes. A common way around this has been to install backup generating capacity, but that solution is now in jeopardy. Companies are now having to choose between unreliable grid power and full time expensive privately generated power.
PEPCO, the national utility that regulates and controls KESC, recently vowed to halt load shedding for the garment and textile sector, but today announced that it will not be able to meet that commitment. Instead, the utility warns that heavy load shedding and frequent blackouts are likely during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins July 20th. The company intends to prioritize its residential customers.
Hundreds of units are facing notices of disconnection from KESC. NEPRA, which regulates electric power in Pakistan, has ruled against the disconnections, but KESC received a stay from the high court and is continuing with the practice in anticipation of a court ruling.