The KESC said that “a sudden curtailment in the supply of gas from the Sui Southern Gas Company, affecting the KESC power generation” was the reason of extending the duration of loadshedding.
From Saturday, some commercial and residential areas in the city which had been facing loadshedding three times a day would now experience it five times in 24 hours, said a spokesperson for the power utility.
Sources told Dawn that the KESC had failed to attend to many faults that were also causing prolonged outages across the city.
In some areas the duration of an outage would be one hour, whereas in some other areas it would be stretched up to one hour and 30 minutes each at a time.This schedule, the spokesperson said, would continue until the gas supply to KESC was normalised.
The KESC decision would badly hurt the business activities in the city with the Eid shopping season reaching its peak.
Market associations have come down hard on the KESC for not operating its generation plants on furnace oil to fulfil its contractual commitment when the gas was in short supply.They alleged that such acts of the KESC would be tantamount to crippling Karachi’s business and industrial activities and put the public in great discomfort.
The KESC claimed that the SSGC had stated that it had to close its Zamzama gasfield because of the floods, causing about 35-40 per cent reduction in supply of gas to the power utility.
The power generation from KESC plants running on gas had to be dropped accordingly while some plants, which could also run on oil, had been shifted onto oil, said the KESC spokesperson.
“However, due to the substantial drop in gas supply, the KESC has been forced to resort to enhanced loadshedding, starting before 9am and continuing after 1.30am from Saturday till further notice,” said the KESC spokesperson.
“This extraordinary schedule will continue till the SSGC gas supplies are normalised,” he added.The Sui Southern Gas Company spokesperson however claimed that despite the closure of the Zamzama gas field due to inundation of the field with the floodwater and shortfall of 136MMCFD in supplies from the gasfiled, it had curtailed only 60MMCFD supply to the KESC.
He said Johi in Dadu district had been hit by flood and the BHP’s Zamzama gas field’s Phases I and II, from which SSGC was drawing 240MMCFD had been closed. Due to this situation the gas utility was getting only 104MMCFD and was therefore compelled to curtail supplies to its bulk consumers, including the KESC, the SSGC spokesperson said.
The gasfiled was supplying 430MMCFD to SSGC (240MMCFD) and SNGPL (190MMCFD).
He said the SSGC supply of 200MMCFD to the KESC was progressively curtailed to 140MMCFD since Friday.
This affected supplies to Bin Qasim which was now getting 30MMCFD instead of 90MMCFD. But there was no curtailment of supplies to single fired power generation plants at Korangi, KTPS, Combined Cycle, Haroonabad and West Wharf. The supply of 112MMCFD to such plants was continuing, the spokesperson said.
Supplies to SNGPL have been brought down to 110MMCFD.
The gas company’s spokesperson said that because of this situation supplies to Jamshoro plant had been brought to zero from 60MMCFD. Kotri was being provided 20MMCFD but Pakistan Steel’s supply had to be brought down from 38 to 33 MMCFD.
Fauji Fertilizer was now getting 63 instead of 72 MMCFD and Engro was getting 14 instead of 18MMCFD.
The SSGC spokesperson said the gas company had moved its machines and equipment from Shikarpur, where it was engaged in flood relief work, to restore supplies from Zamzama. He said efforts were being made to repair it as soon as possible.