Ministry seeks report from power distribution companies
14 October, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Water and Power has sought a detailed report from the management of all power distribution companies about the status of ongoing operation against the top 300 power defaulters of their respective domains with an open warning that the officials involved in power theft would face strict action, serving as a deterrent to others, sources told on Sunday.
The sources said the list of the power defaulters was provided to all power distribution companies that were supposed to take immediate action against those falling in their respective domain. "Now the ministry would thoroughly review the performance of the officials of the power distribution companies and strict action would be taken against those who would be found involved in negligence or helping electricity thieves," the source said.
"The ministry is all set to use Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in order to hunt down power thieves insides the electricity supply companies and their subsequent beneficiaries. There are nine power distribution companies and task force has been constituted for each of them in order to cleanse them from corrupt elements held responsible for massive corruption in the power sector", the sources said.
An official said electricity theft of about 3,000 MW every year and line losses are proving 'fatal' to the entire power system, resulting in losses worth billions of rupees to the national exchequer so now proactive steps are being taken to curb electricity theft, curtail power losses, improve inefficiency and control corruption in the power sector to bridge gap between demand and supply.
He said the elected representatives have already criticised even national security institutions for not paying electricity bills that have stalled the whole energy sector due to alarming receivables of Rs326 billion against the defaulters.
It is pertinent to mention here that a parliamentary panel noted with concern that the receivables of the power sector had swelled to a whopping billions of rupees and directed Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) to disconnect supply to consumers if they failed to meet a one-month deadline to pay their dues.
The official record showed that 148 feeders of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) are inflicting Rs54 billion of loss per annum to the national kitty; 16,000 tube-wells are operating in the Qesco (Quetta) area on stolen power with an overall annual loss of Rs35 billion; the people living in large swath of land in Makran division consisting of three districts in Qesco area are using 80 MW power daily free of cost, inflicting loss of Rs26 billion per annum to the government.
It further showed that the PML-N government has approved 14 mega power projects worth Rs430095 million in first quarter 2013-14 (July to September) to overcome grave power crisis but all of them would take years to get completely functional.
Talking to our sources Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali said there should be no doubt about commitment of the incumbent government as it would not spare any power thief irrespective of his/her social or political stature.
"We have prepared list of power thieves and I assure you that all of them would face strict action and from now onwards they would not be able to steal electricity. Those officials who helped them steal electricity would also face the same fate and we would launch inquiries and punish them", he said.
Abid Sher Ali said he has already suspended various officials and every one would have to perform official duty in a befitting manner otherwise there would be no space for corrupt and inefficient officials in the power distribution companies.
He said they would work day in and day out and no delay would be allowed in execution of power projects because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wants the work of months to be performed within days.