The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) on Monday held a public hearing against K-Electric attended by a large number of businessmen, traders and civil society members. The public hearing witnessed chaos and ruckus as NEPRA chairman Tauseef H. Farooqi clashed with former president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce Siraj Qasim Teli.Teli argued that if K-Electric’s monopoly is ended, the business community in Karachi was ready to form a new electricity distribution company. Chairman NEPRA interrupted the business tycoon and said that K-Electric’s licence cannot be changed and no new company should be formed, leading to bitter arguments between them. Businessman Javed Balwani asked Chairman NEPRA that if the stakeholders are not being held, then what was the purpose of the public hearing. The chairman replied in a stern tone that those who do not speak in an orderly manner should be taken out of the hall. The public hearing was disrupted and slogans were chanted in against K-Electric forcing NEPRA chairman to adjourn the hearing for some time.Earlier, Nepra had taken notice of complaints regarding continuing unannounced load-shedding in Karachi and directed the power utility to submit a detailed report in this regard. The body had also noted that inflated electricity bills were being charged to consumers.The power regulatory authority had taken up the issue as many residents took to the streets to protest the power outages, blocking main roads and highways to bring the issue to the attention of the relevant authorities. The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf too has launched a protest campaign and staged a sit-in outside the KE head office earlier this week to protest the “atrocities” of the power utility, demanding an end to its monopoly on electricity generation, transmission and distribution and vowing to approach Nepra and the Supreme Court against KE.For its part, KE had attributed the power outages to fuel shortage, especially shortage of furnace oil, in the country.“Over 70 per cent of Karachi, including industrial zones, is exempted from [load-shedding]. The ongoing fuel shortage is, however, leading to generation constraints. This has had an impact on K-Electric’s ability to meet the rising electricity demand on account of high temperatures,” the power utility had said in a statement earlier.