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Power bill row with KESC: finished products’ production halts




  • Disconnection of electricity by KESC has brought production of finished products to a halt at Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). Power supply to the country’s largest state-owned steel plant has been cut off since Wednesday night by KESC for non-payment of bills. 

    A partial payment was made by PSM Thursday; however, KESC has refused to restore power supply to Pakistan Steel till the complete payment of dues. KESC Wednesday disconnected electricity supply to Pakistan Steel and its housing scheme “Steel Town” and Gulshan-e-Hadeed Phase One for non-payment of Rs 930 million. On Thursday, PSM made a payment of Rs 250 million to KESC and accordingly power supply was restored to Steel Town and Gulshan-e-Hadeed Phase One, however the main plant of Pakistan Steel is still without power. 

    Before disconnection of power supply, Pak Steel was making rolled products due to shortage of raw material. However, now the production of all finished products has also come to a halt due to unavailability of electricity. “Presently, we are trying to keep the furnace and cock oven batteries operational through power supply from Pakistan Steel Mills’ thermal power plant,” said Shazim Akhtar spokesman Pakistan Steel. 

    He said production of flat products including billet was already suspended due to slow demand in the domestic market and only rolled products were being produced that included Hot Rolled Coils (HRC) and Cold Rolled Coils (CRC). However, for last two days, the production of HRC and CRC has also come to a halt due to unavailability of electricity, he said. “Steel making process is still continuing but not production of finished products since Thursday,” he added. 

    When asked about the Chief Executive Officer’s resignation, he said Major General Muhammad Javed (Retd) is on leave and will join office on Tuesday. Presently, Pakistan Steel Mills is facing historical crisis as its liabilities have crossed Rs 160 billion mark and monthly losses have reached Rs2 billion per month due to non-technical officers and unavailability of raw material. 

    Average production of PSM has also declined to below 10 percent. In addition, salaries have also not been paid for last two and a half months. Former CEO Major General Muhammad Javed (Retd) joined Pakistan Steel Mill in April 2012 and got a Rs 14 billion bailout package from federal government to make it profitable. However, despite federal government’s support the mills registered losses and the production also fell to below 30 percent. 

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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