Major power cut hits Karachi

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The Independent Online

Pakistan's commercial capital Karachi suffered a major power cut today when the country's main power utility cut the supply because the city's power company had not paid its bills, an official said.

Karachi is Pakistan's biggest city with a population of more than 13 million and is home to many industries, the country's two main ports and its main stock market.

"At around 8am WAPDA cut its 300 megawatts supplies to us and as a result the entire system tripped," said Syed Sultan Hasan, spokesman for the Karachi Electric Supply Company, which supplies power to Karachi.

WAPDA, or the Water and Power Development Authority, is Pakistan's main state power utility.

A spokesman for the Pakistan Electric Power Company, which manages WAPDA's power wing, said supplies were cut because bills had not been paid.

"KESC owes 34.80bn rupees (£277m) to us and we have been writing to them every week to make at least some payments," said the spokesman, Tahir Basharat Cheema.

"But let alone making payments, they're not even replying to our letters," he said.

KESC's Hasan said the company was in contact with WAPDA to ensure restoration of supplies.

"They have restored partial supplies, and after that we have also started restoring electricity," he said.

"But it will take time before the complete system is back on track."

Officials said while port and industrial operations were normal, a prolonged breakdown could cause major disruptions.

Many factories and offices have their own generators.