With curbs on outages, PESCO suffers Rs40b loss

Committee comes up with proposals, including outsourcing of feeders, to tackle theft

Zafar Bhutta August 11, 2018
The committee was informed that losses in Pesco areas were high due to poor law and order situation. PHOTO:FILE

ISLAMABAD: The previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) caused a loss of Rs40 billion in six months to Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) by stopping the utility from carrying out load-shedding in high-loss areas.

The disclosure was made in a meeting of sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Power, chaired by Senator Nauman Wazir, on Friday.

Along with the Power Division, the sub-committee prepared a set of proposals for the next government in a bid to tackle electricity theft, which included outsourcing the feeders in high-loss areas.

It also recommended provision of 400 units of electricity free of charge to mosques in order to encourage prayer leaders to create awareness of adverse effects of electricity theft.

PESCO’s bifurcation challenged

The committee was informed that during the previous government's term, the cabinet decided that Pesco should provide uninterrupted electricity supply in high-loss areas, which resulted in a hit of Rs40 billion to the utility.

The sub-committee suggested that the cabinet should not impose such decisions on power distribution companies that caused losses.

It noted that appointments on boards of the distribution companies were made on political grounds and called for stopping such practices in an attempt to avoid interference in decision-making process of the companies.

Officials of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) told the sub-committee that law and order situation was poor in areas covered by Pesco.

Chief executive officer of the company alleged that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government did not cooperate in taking action against the consumers involved in power theft.

Pesco board of directors allowed the deployment of Rangers personnel in areas where power theft was rampant, he said, adding cases were now being directly filed in sessions courts against the criminals.

Govt sacks heads of 4 power firms on poor performance

The sub-committee chairman emphasised that a formula should be designed to determine the losses suffered by power distribution companies and they would not be allowed to determine administrative losses in future without any formula.

The committee was informed that losses in Pesco areas were high due to poor law and order situation.

Apart from suggesting outsourcing of feeders, the committee recommended that on a year-on-year basis, the revenue generation per month would be equally shared by the distribution companies and contractors.

No staff of the distribution companies would be laid off by the contractors. It also recommended providing a 200-man police force and two magistrates to the distribution companies. Salaries and other expenses of those deputed will be paid by the distribution companies.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2018.

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