K-Electric invokes force majeure after rains in KarachiArchive
ISLAMABAD: As Karachiites continue to suffer after recent rains leading to loss of precious human lives and public property, K-Electric on Wednesday started the process of declaring force majeure — a legal term used for inability to meet performance standards and contractual obligations because of circumstances beyond its control.
This has come following a notice issued by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to the Karachi-based power utility over extended “power outages and loss of human lives due to electrocution”.
Read: Karachi remains submerged in darkness hours after last showers
A day earlier, the regulator had expressed its disturbance that “KE complaint centers were not responding to telephonic calls of consumers” and directed the company to submit a report about failure of its pre-emptive measures as the rain was expected.
In response, the KE told the regulator about its intentions “to declare Force Majeure under Rule 10 of the Nepra Performance Standards (Distribution) Rules, 2005, for the period July 29, 2019 and onwards”. The KE said it would submit a detailed report along with force majeure request within 14 days as allowed under Rule 10(3) of the Nepra rules.
Under the condition, Nepra can’t fine the power firm
The KE also told the regulator that power breakdowns were caused by torrential rain and supply of 1,700 feeders out of 1,800 had been restored or brought online and efforts were under way for restoration of complete supply of power to the rest. Under the said rules, the fines shall not be imposed in case of non-compliance of guaranteed performance standards under force majeure conditions in the event circumstances that increment an annual count of a particular Guaranteed Performance Standard. The company can declare the exemption from penalties for failure to deliver on performance standards or meet contractual obligations about service delivery due to extreme, peculiar and unusual circumstances only.
The KE told the regulator that since July 29, Karachi was experiencing relentless and severe monsoon spells, which caused urban flooding and water-logging in various parts of the city. Total downpour in multiple spells has been to the tune of more than 120mm with significant downpours in each of the spells.
With regards to preparedness in view of the forecasted weather conditions, KE said it proactively assigned additional technical staff with regular corrective maintenance gangs to ensure prompt resolution of complaints and swift response within time. Further, the crisis management team was also activated to monitor the on-ground situation and sufficient level of inventory was being maintained to meet any emergency requirements.
The utility claimed that for any given point in time the maximum outage in terms of areas was well within comfortable limits. Further, due to usual circumstances of water-logging and relentless downpour, localised faults have occurred in certain pockets of the city which have resulted in outages in these areas.
It said the KE teams were coordinating with respective civil agencies to ensure drainage of clogged water and restoration of power supply, while certain areas were still waterlogged and restoration work could not start until the situation improved due to operational and safety reasons.
When contacted, a KE spokesperson said that if the company was unable to end outages due to act of God or other event beyond control it could claim exemption from Nepra’s performance rules for that specific period.
He said the unprecedented and heavy rainfall on Monday submerged various areas of Karachi and some areas of the city experienced power outage, specially areas of Jail Chowrangi, Clifton, Defence, Gulshan, Nazimabad, Gizri, PNT Colony, Numaish, Punjab Chowrangi, Korangi, Landhi and Garden, which were re-energised despite challenging ground conditions.
The power supply to strategic installations, including key hospitals and KWSB pumping stations, was maintained and also restored on a priority where required. The Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company’s EHT line had also tripped during the early hours of the day and was restored the next day.
According to the KE spokesperson, “Rapid response teams and contact centre staff remained fully operational round the clock, while the power utility also registered customer queries via 8119 SMS platform and through KE’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The resilience of the system during this tough spell was yet another testament of consistent investment and upgrades made by KE.”
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2019