KESC misdeeds and the abuse of power

Published: October 31, 2010

KESC employees who go around breaking people's electricity metres should be the first to be penalised.

It was 6 pm and I had just entered my home after a long, hectic day at the office, when the bell rang and a very efficient looking KESC team for the Defence area came in, claiming that according to Section 20 of the Electric Act 1910, they were required to carry out an inspection of the electricity metre.

As per the rules, our meter is installed outside the house, where I took the team so that they could carry out the inspection. As one of them inspected the electricity metre thoroughly, he found no fault in its operation. Then the other officer started hitting a screw driver against the glass covering, saying he thought he saw Elfy super glue on it. In the process of hitting it, he cracked a bit of the glass covering.

I was in complete shock, when he conveniently wrote “hole in metre body” in the inspection report and claimed that we had been tampering with the electric metre, as the holes had existed before and he was just trying to expose them. We were informed that our power supply would be cut off if we did not meet a KESC officer. I was appalled at the dishonesty and it made my blood boil, but it was a useless argument at that point, as the officers simply shrugged and walked off without a tinge of guilt for their unscrupulous act.

So is this how KESC meets its targets? By sabotaging their own equipment and then penalizing honest customers who have a regular payment history?

For the past six months, we have been paying ridiculously high electricity bills of Rs 13,000 and Rs 10,000. My question to KESC is: if we were tampering with the metre, why in the world would we be paying such high electricity bills?

As if the unscheduled load shedding and low voltage didn’t cause enough agony, KESC has now decided to torture its customers by sabotaging their own equipment and squeezing penalties out of honest people.

KESC talks a lot about its new theft campaign and crackdowns. Perhaps first their own employees should be fired and penalised for fraud and corruption. Their inability to control theft is primarily because many of KESC’s own employees are involved in providing illegal connections to areas in Karachi. Since their targets cannot be met, the solution they find is bribery and sabotage.


Nojeba Haider

A corporate banker based in Karachi. Nojeba tweets @nojeba.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Yousaf

    Exactly!! very sad…

    When I complained to my friend that we are receiving a hefty amount of Bill every month for our 3 story house, a visitor (actually WAPDA Employee) sitting next to him told me, Sir, no problem..we have the solution…you will be getting Rs. 5000 monthly bill fixed and use electricity as much as you want.

    When I said, I don’t do illegal, he said….ok, don’t go illegal.. We will put 3 meters outside of your house and then it will distribute the cost per unit to lowest.

    In a Country like Pakistan, where Electricity is produced from Water… should be far more cheaper then any country in the world. The only issue here is the theft…..most of our nationals are stealing and people like us paying the cost.

    Janay kab hoon gay duniya kay gham!! Recommend

  • Tanzeel

    How sure you are that they were KESC employees? You should have verified whether they were really KESC people because a lot of thugs are roaming in this city under the disguise of gas or electricity meter readers. They would knock your door, do a bit manipulation in meter and blackmail you for money, they turn out to be robbers in most of the cases. You should have taken pictures of those men and their and immediately reported this matter to KESC complaint center. Didn’t you notice they rang your doorbell once you entered home.Recommend

  • Erfan

    Once my family went on a vacation for a month so I was the only one living at my place, there was substantial drop in our electricity consumption. So after a month we received a letter from KESC telling us to visit them at Civic Center. We went there and the guy said “Ap bura na manayay, aap log bijli chori kar rahay hai” n I was like how did you know that? He said our instruments have detected the chori lol …

    N I told them that my family went on vacation that’s why there’s the drop in consumption of electricity. KESC is a joke. Recommend

  • parvez

    Thats a shocking story.
    To be fair, when I had a problem with my meter or electric phase the KESC responded quickly, efficiently and no ‘extas’ have been demanded.Recommend

  • Anon

    This blog is the funny, and makes me question the ethics of amateur bloggers (such as you), no KESC employee with ‘break’ or put a ‘hole’ in a meter, since they have nothing to gain from it, the meter must have been tampered with, I have met many a KESC employee’s and they are quite nice people actually, it’s not their fault electricity prices are on the rise, or that there are power cuts everyday, they suffer from it too (believe it or not)..

    you provide no factual proof, random inspections happen from time to time, whether you are at home or not, they DO NOT require your permission to check the meter (as far as my knowledge on the subject goes) since the meter’s are KESC property.

    I seriously question the credibility of your post. Yes KESC employees are allowed to check peoples meters, no they won’t break them EVEN if found tampered with, they simply let you know of your crime, and you get fined, or you can go to court if you feel you have been falsely accused.

    If what you have said is true, you can take KESC to court over the matter and sue them under many counts, yes, a very weird thing known as ‘consumer laws’ exist in Pakistan, but sadly, people would rather pay ‘chai pani’ money, which destroys the whole concept of the law in the first place, and then they get riled up over corruption and want law and order in the country.

    ”I was appalled at the dishonesty and it made my blood boil, but it was a useless argument at that point, as the officers simply shrugged and walked off without a tinge of guilt for their unscrupulous act.”

    You should have exercised your rights, you have a cellphone don’t you? should have taken a picture or 3 of the scene, taken their names, their truck number, and you should have held them back, what do you mean ‘there is no point in arguing?’ unless I was at fault, I wouldn’t let them flee, I would make them stay, and call A) the police, and B) KESC, to lodge a complaint (AT THE LEAST). It was 6 PM, lets say they broke your meter, at 6:30? that’s quite early for people to be walking past, or around, or teenagers just hanging out and looking at what’s going on, and don’t tell me there wasn’t a soul in sight, or a gatekeeper or a security guard, or even a child..

    If Pakistani’s don’t start standing up for themselves and stop blaming everything and everyone else, then I am saddened to say, but I hope more mis-fortunes come the country’s way, since people can either learn the easy way, or the hard way, and learning time through the easy way was over well over a decade ago.Recommend

  • Anon

    Like I said, Sue them, if you believe you were falsely accused and wrongly dealt with, and believe that you were put in distress and/or mental anguish.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    Yeah sounds sad but make sure whether they wre real Kesc people……..Agreed with tanzeel………Recommend

  • Khalid Muhammad

    Anon – I find your response to be a bit unreal and I’ll tell you why.

    A few weeks ago, we had sparking on the KESC line outside our home. We called KESC almost 40 times over a period of a week to have them come out and check the line so that nothing caught on fire. Other than hearing that a KESC truck would be at our house in a few hours, no one ever showed up. After a week of sparking, the line broke cutting power to about 15 houses on our street. We called KESC again, only to get the same answer. We finally went to the closes “business center” and lodged a complaint against the help line and the downed power line.

    About an hour later, a KESC truck came and checked the downed line. They collected the wire and told us that another team would be by in a few hours to reconnect the power lines. After 4 hours of waiting, we called the service center to be told that KESC would not replace the line until an FIR was cut because some heroin users had cut and stolen the downed line. Please keep in mind that the KESC truck came and collected the line in front of me. We were told that it would be a day before power was reconnected to our house. The refused to believe that the power line dropped because of sparking.

    The next day, we again went to the “business center” to lodge a complaint about the false report that was filed. Within a couple hours, another KESC truck came to our house and showed me the report that was filed by the KESC employees the night before. In return, I showed them the video of the sparking and BREAKING line that I had shot on my cell phone. The line was reconnected in less than 1 hour. If you would like to watch the video, it was uploaded to iSamaa.

    Since KESC has been purchased by Abraaj, there standard has slipped to 0. The customer service is useless, the linemen openly lie and cheat to harass customers and their tariffs are outrageous for the service that they provide. We have had KESC linemen come to disconnect our power before the due date on the bill, even though there were no arrears. KESC has announced through domestic TV channels that due to strikes in Karachi, bill payment dates would be extended, only to find out when we went to pay the bill that no date extension memo had come from KESC to the banks.

    For someone to even try to defend them and their practices just makes me wonder if they work for KESC. I’m sure that I am not the only one with wonderful stories of the great service that KESC provides the people of Karachi, but I am sure that you are alone in singing their praises.Recommend

  • Sehrish

    Khalid Muhammad should have written an article on it, not just a comment. Recommend

  • The Only Normal Person Here.

    Sad to know. But this is true “ironically” that the most poshiest area of Karachi, is filled with electricity tampering.

    Anyone here know the Lecole controversy?Recommend

  • irfan urfi

    Its called a Total Customer Satisfaction Recommend

  • Khalid Muhammad

    Sehrish – would be more than happy to write about KESC and other things. Problem is that I don’t think it will get published since I don’t know who to send it to.Recommend

  • Mahr

    KESC employees do often accuse persons with regular payment historyRecommend

  • Marfa

    KESC employees do often accuse persons with regular payment history of meter tampering etc. Their employees break rules in this manner quite often. And Despite regular payment history etc. many good customers get stuck with major issues. Happened with us as well as other decent folks we know. The new management doesn’t particularly care. They should learn how to treat their customers and also focus on the real problems, instead of harassing customers who have a good record. The organisation and its people are of a weak character.Recommend

  • Angelos

    I think you live in different country!Recommend

  • Ovais

    KESC employees do these kind of things to actually mint money from the consumers illegally and i think KESC should have an immediate complaint response system to tackle these kind of problems being faced by its consumers!!!Recommend

  • Aina

    a very immature blog…
    “As per the rules, our meter is installed outside the house..”…Since meter is installed outside home, KESC employees can inspect it anytime they want. And if they actually wanted to put a hole in it, they could have done anytime, any day ..why would they want you to be a witness of it?Recommend

  • Aneela Jameel

    An advice to all of you reading the blog: whoever comes to you for meter inspection please request them to show their KESC office ID cards: there are many fake people doing inspection these days and then they ask you for bribe…..please confirm if they are actually from KESC or not?Recommend

  • Aneela Jameel

    @Aina as per KESC’s rules the team has to inspect in front of the resident otherwise case cannot be made.Recommend

  • Sana Saleem

    This is a way of taking out money from customers illegally. I suggest you that please donot be afraid of them and meet some high official and narrate him the whole story and bills history. Or better would be to find some powerful reference as this is the only way that works in Pakistan…Recommend

  • Zulfiqar

    KESC…. Good bye electricity…. Good bye 21st century

    Back to 15th century!Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Here in pakistan, one who follows jungle’s law is successful. In my opinion, no offense, but should not pay those bills which were sent to you by unfair means. I was very honest in paying bills and i didn’t theft not even a single unit, but when i faced 10 to 12 hours of load shedding and 5000 rupees of bills per month. I am now thinking to steal electricity. to save my halal earning i have to steal electricity now. Choro k ghar chori karna koi chori nahi.Recommend

  • Hira Niazi

    @Haya..It’s edited after someone brought his attention to the matter :)Recommend

  • shakir

    i dont believe it, even if he copied some, he’s still doing great work.Recommend

  • Ali

    None of shakespeare’s work were original. Arts is about getting ideas from other people and making them betterRecommend

  • Mirwat Tajwani

    Noman Ansari ….. Shame on you !!!!

    Since when these internet videos became patented or started having copyrights ??? -_-Recommend

  • Mohammad Mavia

    he is not a comedian mate
    he is just a man posting videos on FBRecommend

  • kaarma

    if we do the comparison, zaid is better.Recommend

  • ZaidAliTfan

    No. I myself have personally met ZAIDALIT he’s a down to earth amazing person he showed my family and I respect and I don’t believe he’s a thief he’s only 19!!!!!!! Recommend

  • seerat

    Oh my gosh this is so stupid, people remake videos all the time. It’s just not that big of a deal. Writing an entire article about it is overkillRecommend

  • Dhruv R

    Dude, he was being sarcastic. -_-Recommend

  • Kash

    You should stop using Facebook since it’s a copy of orkut and myspace.
    Stop taking entertainment so seriously ! If they are putting a smile on someone’s face, that’s what matters. They have unique styles, let them both be. The author of this post needs to look forward instead of looking back and dragging people down. There are more important topics that need coverage and attention!Recommend

  • Rabbiya

    SOOOO BASICALLY this article is about a kid who posts funny videos on Facebook just like any other kid his generation…. but the jokes are copied?…..yup …seems like the right argument to waste your time over, since we have run out of all other topics in pakistan,….the fb page is like a profile, if we don’t like it, we can chose NOT to go on it…..this is not commercial content… lol.. its similar to you posting a good quote from a renowned author as your status and people start accusing you of plagiarism… Recommend

  • Fizza ..

    U are jealouse :/Recommend

  • Danish

    what point are you trying to make ? Just trying to make an article worth getting people’s attention !!!Recommend

  • Pardeep

    Jokes are nobody’s property Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi

    Religion sells in Pakistan.

    Seeing how Secular parties use it for their purpose, I agree with youRecommend

  • Nidal Faruq

    The videos Ziad publishes are based on our daily life acts/issues. It can match other videos, and yes it’s okay to copy such ideas(because they are part of our lives) unless the originator is being harmed in anyway, which he is not. Your claims are clearly vague my friend. Zaid has proven to be better than the others and that’s why he is more popular.

    Last thing, with all due respect, we should never point someone out on the bases of his personal life, we have no right to.Recommend

  • Abbas Ali

    They Were Not the Jokes he Used for Humor …they were the facts about us…and everyone has right to use FactsRecommend

  • Talha Shahid

    My dear sir, I am not a liberal nor a fascists. I don’t need to prove my patriotism to you my friend. This was a pun intended and I believe some people have taken that but I have absolutely no intentions of targetting anyone. You however easily labelled my mindset to a somewhat liberal which saddens me as you have not only ridiculed me but liberal as well. I am as liberal as Fawad Alam in WC 2015 squad. Please direct your line of fire to the article and not my comment.Recommend

  • Khurram

    hahahah GoNawazGo reh gya tha @talha shahid you summed up pretty well :DRecommend

  • Haroon

    Wow… Your comment is even longer than the blog itself!

  • hanan

    Honestly ,most successful YouTube videos are plagiarized. The videos from the group that the article states that he plagiarized from are most likely plagiarized as well. Recommend

  • babajee

    The IDEA is NOT unique.. I did the White vs Pathan joke way back in 2009. I can claim Haseeb Khan stole it from me? Recommend