20,000 employees of power firms involved in theft

Senate panel says outages should be carried out in line with bill recovery rates

Our Correspondent December 28, 2018
Matters relating to K-Electric will be reviewed in the two special committees constituted by the PM. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Power was informed that around 20,000 employees of power distribution companies were found involved in theft or other similar activities, and investigation was going on against them.

The Senate committee, in a meeting chaired by Senator Fida Muhammad, emphasised the need for zero tolerance in areas having higher electricity theft rates and recommended that power should be provided taking into account the percentage of customers who paid their bills.

The committee directed the Power Division to present a sub-committee’s recommendations in the cabinet and decide on carrying out load-shedding in accordance with the bill recovery rates.

The meeting was informed that boards of distribution companies were free to tackle theft cases and there was no interference from the ministry. Moreover, it urged the companies to approach the committee if any matter relating to theft, losses and interference needed the panel’s intervention.

Discussions of the committee were centered around outsourcing some distribution networks to the private sector, providing proper power connections in tribal areas, pending payments to the Sindh irrigation department for work on the Guddu barrage and taking to task employees of Wapda and distribution companies involved in electricity theft.

Committee members were told that distribution companies across the country had around 120,000 employees, of which around 20,000 were found involved in theft or other heinous activities.

It was agreed that matters relating to K-Electric would be reviewed in the two special committees constituted by the prime minister and headed by the adviser to PM on commerce and the privatisation secretary.

Regarding the appointment of maintenance staff for solar tube wells in tribal areas, the committee was told that the project was not undertaken by the Power Division.

Discussing the installation of defective and expired electricity meters in the Askari 11 Housing Society, it was noted that the meters were not fixed by the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) but by the society administration itself. However, Lesco has replaced all 209 meters with new functional ones.

The committee decided to call the assistant commissioner revenue of Khyber Agency and the authorities concerned to discuss alleged sale of Tribal Area Electricity Supply Company (Tesco) land for the installation of a grid station in Jamrud without the owner’s consent.

The committee was also given a briefing on the budget and expenditures of the Power Division. The ministry has a total non-development budgetary allocation of Rs245 million for the current fiscal year, out of which Rs95 million had been spent.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2018.

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