@sah: can you please link or point me in the direction of that article?
My understanding was vastly different; while it is true that DHA residents consume a larger than proportionate amount of electricity, it was my understanding that the billing recovery rates within the DHA areas was higher than that of most other areas in Karachi.
My estimate was that total overhead (including line losses, billing issues etc..) stood for the DHA areas at around ~16-17%. Whereas areas outside of DHA such as Saddar, Delhi Colony, Clifton etc... the line losses were a few percentage points higher.
I fully admit, I could be wrong here =)
Now, as far as my understanding goes, there are four basic issues that plague KESC:
(1) Technical Line Losses:
Technical line Losses in "good areas" of Karachi are estimated to be higher than 10-12 percent. In poorly planned, jugar style infrastructure-heavy areas, the line losses creep in excess of 15-18%. This is atrocious, considering the international standard is around 7-8%. To put it in perspective, each percentage (across all of KESC) is equivalent to a billion dollars a year in lost revenue. You can never eliminate line losses, but you can minimize them with careful load planning and investments in your transmission and generation infrastructure. Unfortunately, KESC is far, far behind on this count. Now as citizens, we can't do much to fix this, but we can certainly alleviate the problems by ensuring wiring in our homes, to the meters and forward are installed to a standard which minimizes these issues.
(2) Power Generation / Supply:
KESC is NOT a power generation company, simply a transmission utility. They make money by buying the electricity from PEPCO / WAPDA / IPP's etc... and transferring it into your homes and businesses. They basically charge a markup on their buying rates and cost of transmission as their profit.
There is a shortage of power in Pakistan, there are no two ways about it, even if we all reduced our power consumption by 30% (which would be significant), there would still not be enough power in Pakistan to light every home and business. There just isn't enough. Chances are that at any given time in the year, there is some place in Pakistan which is suffering from load shedding, because there is a shortage here or there. This is a just a fact.
What can we do about it? Pressure the politicians, the decision makers, the politerati of Karachi / Pakistan to get off their collective asses and make the creation and support of IPP's a serious concern. Stop building roads and extravagant planned areas (creek marina, seaview etc...) which are only going to increase the density and pressure on our infrastructure.
A relative of mine was intimately involved at one stage, in setting up a power plant here in Karachi (10+ years ago), but they could not get it off the ground because Mr. 10% and Mr. 15% etc... all had various issues and interests to protect. Cronyism is the root cause of the lack of power generation facilities in Pakistan. Each government has their own, and when inevitably they fall, programs and ideas initiated by cronies of the previous regime inevitably falter. 16 years of failed starts and projects have resulted in this travesty.
I mean consider this staggering fact: Sindh has amongst the world's largest coal deposits in the world (180 Billion Tons!), utilizing a few percent of this coal could power Pakistan for the next 40 years! Yet, we have to see any development whatsoever in this respect. Just think about it, its mind boggling.
Don't believe me? Read this: http://www.paktribune.com/news/print.php?id=155007
(3) Billing & Recovery: This is a cultural problem; we consume what we cannot afford, and when push comes to shove, we just shrug. The poor can't pay because they are poor, yet they consume more than they can afford. The rich and connected can pay, but choose to cheat because they think they have every right to do so in the pursuit of even greater riches. KESC, for all intents and purposes, just has to nod and grin.
Cut off the power to the poor who cant pay for it and they riot (last summer anyone?), and then comes a call inevitably from the top somewhere to turn it back on. Cut the power to the rich, they will !@#$% and scream until they give in and collapse. There is no escape.
Frankly, we as a people, lack the formal training (the innate ability to care) to function in a society where our actions directly affect someone else. I mean, what is the point of destroying KESC complaint and maintenance offices, their trucks and equipment? Where is the common sense in stealing wire from the electricity poles?
Consumption of electricity is a privilege, one that you pay for. If you could get this through to 90% of the people, who tend to perceive it as birth right, you would probably solve half the problem.
(4) Power Theft:
This is a huge issue. There are entire "malls" and "colonies" which are run on a kunda basis, and as sah rightly pointed out, there are probably tons of people who live in DHA and wealthy areas who steal by not paying for their electricity. There isn't much KESC can do about it (see above), but this is where we can make a difference.
Admonish those who steal electricity and be willing to sacrifice something (friendship?) over it. It is only then that perhaps people will realize that stealing electricity is no different than stealing food off of someone's plate. However, given our polite (sarcasm) culture, I can guarantee that there are very few people out there who would confront, much less report, electricity theft. Want to make a difference? At least embarrass the criminals.
I have more to say, but I am going now go and eat some dinner before the power goes out again, for the third time this day... =)