K-Electric is the only power supply company in Karachi. These days they have started a new drama which is called feeder tripping. Throughout the city K-Electric’s feeders turn off the power supply which is then manually turned back on by their staff.
Feeder tripping is actually a safeguard mechanism used to protect power supply stations from huge loads. When a sudden spike in power comes into a station or sub-station, this mechanism automatically switches off the supply.
Visit K-Electric’s website and you will see their promotional material on how much money they have spent on power generation. If they are spending this much money then why these systematic power failures are occurring?
There is no doubt that they have tremendously improved their customer services. By improvement I mean, a polite way to deny providing any information while still claiming to be providing customer service. They basically neutralize customers. 90% of the time I cannot even make them to issue me a complain number or provide any satisfactory information like why feeders are tripping so much and what K-Electric is doing to overcome these issues (They are doing nothing in case you are wondering).
Here is a Twitter conversation between me and their official @K-electric account:
@KElectricPk burns road power off. Feeder tripping has become a daily routine. Will KE ever upgrade their infrastructure?
— Noumaan Yaqoob (@noumaan_) May 28, 2014
@noumaan_ We are conducting maintenance till 30th May, so that our customers to do not face issues like this in the future.
— KE (@KElectricPk) May 28, 2014
Of course the crisis continued even after May 30th and nothing has changed.
I thought may be it is just happening in our neighborhood. But Twitter proved me wrong, when I searched for k-electric on Twitter there are hundreds of Tweets of consumers cursing k-electric, reporting unscheduled power shutdowns, and power failures.
It is 10:54 AM in the morning, lets see what Twitter users have reported about power supply in past few hours.
54 Minutes ago:
BELA: K_Electric Ki Manmania Uroj Pe 4 Din Bejli Na Hone K Bawajod B Her 5 Mint K Bad Bijli Band Koi Pochne Wala Nai.# Firdos Aslam
— M.Muneer_Roonjho (@BBC_VoiCe) June 7, 2014
2 Hours ago
Kesc walo banda da putar banjao
— Zohaib Babar (@Zhbabar05) June 7, 2014
Fuck You K – ElectRic :@:@:@
— Cute Londa (@CuteLonda) June 7, 2014
4 Hours ago
K-Electric: making life miserable since forever
— رضا حسن (@RazzHass) June 7, 2014
7 Hours ago
Had a electrical breakover at my hood. Thanks K-electric for the shitty services.
— Ebtesam Ahmed (@Freaktesam) June 6, 2014
9 Hours ago
— Dental News Pakistan (@DentalNewsPk) June 6, 2014
10 Hours ago
— Shoaib Taimur (@shobz) June 6, 2014
No electricity in bath island @KESC_Ltd. Please update
— Komal Dawani (@Komaldawani) June 6, 2014
KHI: F.B Area Karimabad Pr Subah 7 Bajai Ki Gae Light Ub Tak Na Asaki Complain Ka Bawajood KESC Ka Koi Jawab Nh Ala Hukum Notic Len, #JAWED
— FRM Memon Group (@FRMTime) June 6, 2014
12 Hours ago
@KElectricPk jo haal kal raat kiya haina KElectric ne…
— Aasmani (@mfurqani) June 6, 2014
If you now start mapping the locations with the help of the Twitter, it does not look at all random to me. It looks just like loadshading, power disappearing systematically in different areas. One area gains their feeder restored, then the next area gets their feeder tripped. I am not saying that it is loadshading, but it certainly looks like it.
Does K-Electric has any reason to do such a thing?
Yes they do, by not producing electricity on the furnace oil and keep using cheap natural gas provided by Government of Pakistan at very low rates, K-electric can save millions of Rupees. This means that if it is being done deliberately, then they have a very good reason for it.
Can they do that?
Yes, actually they can. I do not think their contract forbids them from limiting their power generation capacity to a certain point. K-Electric is a business organization, not a charity and making money is the first goal of the enterprise not to serve the people. The people are actually their customers who will buy their products and services even if they do not keep up with their expected performance. The rights of people of Karachi are not protected at all under our laws.
What we can do?
Actually there is nothing we can do. People of Karachi are not organized enough to protect their rights. The city’s main political players are in K-Electric’s pocket. The legal agreement between government and K-Electric does not protect consumers. The consumers will have to pay the bills or face consequences.
Here is what’s happening on Twitter right now. These are only tweets mentioning @kelectricpk K-electric’s official twitter account.