KARACHI: The power sector regulator has come down hard on the privatised power utility K-Electric and all state-owned power distribution companies (DISCOs) for their failure to improve their performance, which caused losses worth Rs132 billion.
“It has been noted with serious concern that DISCOs and K-Electric contributed around Rs49 billion and Rs83 billion in losses respectively to the national exchequer in 2015-16 due to their inefficiency with respect to T&D (transmission and distribution) losses and recovery targets,” the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) said in its performance evaluation report for 2015-16.
“Such losses are playing a vital role in the creation of circular debt,” it said.
Fiscal year 2015-16 did not witness any major improvement in the performance of distribution companies (nine state-owned companies and K-Electric) under the Performance Standards (Distribution) Rules 2005.
They continued to provide fake statements about load-shedding durations, number of complaints received and attended as well as adoption of safety standards.
Nepra has already initiated strict action against such “fake reporting”. It has serious reservations about authenticity of the data of load-shedding in their service areas.
“DISCOs and K-E (K-Electric) have reported load-shedding for 1-4 hours a day, which is contrary to ground realities,” the regulator noted.
Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) submitted that it carried out load-shedding for only one hour in a day in its jurisdiction in 2015-16. Similarly, K-Electric reported that it resorted to average 1.33 hours of load-shedding per day in Karachi, which Nepra said “is far from factual position”.
During visits to different distribution companies, a Nepra team noted load-shedding for 8-10 hours a day in urban areas and 10-12 hours in rural regions on certain feeders.
“The load-shedding criteria as announced by the National Power Control Centre, ie 6 hours in urban and 8 hours in rural areas, also do not match with the data submitted by the distribution companies,” Nepra said. Multan Electric Power Company, Quetta Electricity Supply Company and Sepco reported receipt of less than one complaint per day in the entire 2015-16 fiscal year in any of its complaint centres, which Nepra called very surprising given millions of consumers.
Islamabad, Peshawar, Faisalabad and Hyderabad electricity supply companies reported average one to two complaints per day in each of their complaint centres, which was totally impractical.
“Nepra found average per day complaints at around 20 to 30 in each of the visited complaint centres. Hence, it can be said that the data submitted by DISCOs is not based on facts,” it said.
Unexpected power failures, equipment failure, equipment overheating and increase in system losses continued to result in poor quality power supply, it said. Although the number of fatal accidents faced by company employees and general public fell to 172 in 2015-16, but still it was an alarming figure.
“DISCOs and K-Electric will have to realise that their workplaces are still not fully safe for employees and the general public,” it said.
Among all distribution companies, including K-Electric, the performance of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) was relatively the best. “Due to exceptional performance, especially in (curbing) T&D losses and (giving) new connections, Iesco has secured first position,” Nepra said.
K-Electric, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Quetta and Sukkur companies remained on the same positions as in 2014-15 ie sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.
The rankings were based on the data submitted by the companies in four major categories - T&D losses, bill recovery, new connections and application of safety standards.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2017.
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