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Karachi: Residents of DHA, Clifton fear reverse discrimination by KESC

Residents of Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Clifton have claimed that any drive initiated by the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) to increase revenues from their areas would not only prove counterproductive but also generate a hostile reaction from power consumers, who are already undergoing adverse electric supply and billing situation.

Defence Residents’ Society (DRS) President, Zafar Iqbal, said that the KESC’s move to increase its revenue-base from DHA and Clifton would ultimately be perceived by affected power consumers as harassment against them simply because of their affluent social status. Concerned DHA and Clifton residents meanwhile also said that KESC should have adopted measures to improve the adverse power supply and billing situation in their localities prior to having introduced any revenue-boosting scheme. It is worth remembering that the KESC has set up a special “Umeed Zone” to maximise revenue generation from Defence and Clifton.

Iqbal contended that resources and efforts should be focused upon the due improvement and upgradation of overloaded and obsolete systems of electricity transmission and distribution, that were also used to serve the power needs of the DHA.

Residents claimed that the KESC management had conceived the revenue generation scheme at a time when the power and water supply situation in these areas has considerably deteriorated. Many said that the situation was such that affected consumers hardly found any relief, despite living in the ‘posh’ and ‘privileged’ localities of the city.

In response to complaints that influential residents of the area are involved in electricity theft, residents responded that strong political will and support is needed to identify and target such cases, and that stern action should be taken against such unscrupulous power consumers without showing any concessions.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Sindh leader and resident of DHA, Saleem Zia, said that any hope to increase the revenue base by the power utility in the current dismal scenario of electric supply is “a fantasy on the part of the KESC authorities.”

DRS President Zafar Iqbal told of him own plight: “For last two to three days my home in DHA Phase-V at Khayaban-e-Ghazi has been subjected to prolonged disruption in power supply, lasting from 10a.m. till 7 p.m., and prior to this, multiple spells of load shedding had been taking place in the area. The power situation is not so normal and regulated that the KESC can go for any special billing drive in Defence,” Iqbal added.

Secretary of the Association of Defence Residents (ADR), Asad Qazalbash, said that complaints of over-billing due to faulty electricity metres are rampant amongst Defence residents. He added that there is no need for a special bill recovery campaign in the area, given that the KESC is prompt at penalising defaulting power consumers by disconnecting power supply to their homes and offices. Qazalbash believed that the highly deteriorated power situation had proven that the present management of KESC has no competence, ability and experience to run the power utility in an efficient and consumer-friendly manner.

Qudsia Qadri, a resident of Clifton Block-4, said that the highly disturbed power supply situation in her locality strongly pointed towards the fact that the KESC had not carried out due improvement or upgradation of its transmission and distribution networks, including those covering DHA and Clifton. She said that she had been charged ten times her regular bill recently, and upon lodging and pursuing her complaint, she discovered that she been charged for an excessive 350 units. She added that during the peak winter season, power consumers in Clifton were subjected to hours-long power outages, while consumers are bracing themselves for a worse situation during the summers

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