ISLAMABAD: Power distribution companies have detected 43,921 cases of electricity theft in three months under a drive to improve bill recoveries and curtail losses.
The drive against power theft and for improving recovery of electricity bills resulted in an increase of over Rs39 billion in collections from consumers from November 2018 to January 2019.
According to a senior government official, the Power Division has taken several measures to control electricity theft and losses. As part of its drive, it undertook steps to reduce losses and increase the recovery of consumer bills, which resulted in additional revenue of Rs39.68 billion for power distribution companies from November-January 2018-19 compared to the corresponding period of previous financial year.
In November 2017, the collection stood at Rs77.86 billion, which jumped to Rs90.77 billion in November 2018, showing an increase of Rs12.9 billion. In December 2017 and January 2018, the collection from power consumers came in at Rs61.95 billion and Rs64.13 billion respectively, which increased to Rs78.05 billion and Rs74.77 billion respectively in December and January of the current financial year. The increase in recoveries was Rs16.12 billion for Dec 2018 and Rs10.64 billion for January 2019.
According to officials of the Power Division, a total of 43,921 cases of electricity theft have been unearthed in the current drive, of which 485 were major theft cases. A total of 20,712 FIRs have been registered and 1,909 people have been arrested.
A total of 78.804 million units have been charged from the consumers involved in electricity theft and Rs537.120 million has been recovered from them. Officials pointed out that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had appreciated the efforts made by the Power Division, which would help curtail losses of the power sector and improve recovery of electricity bills. The ECC had directed the Power Division to prepare a comprehensive strategy for the recovery of bills from the consumers.
According to the officials, the Power Division is now working on measures to bring down losses in the power sector and eliminate them by July 2019.
They pointed out that electricity units supplied to the power distribution companies were not being sold in full to the consumers. That was why there had been a considerable gap between the production of electricity and its sale.
The officials cautioned that the losses could jump up if the power companies failed to bring improvement in the national transmission and distribution system. There is still a gap between the bills sent and the amount received by the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA).
The gap could be reduced further if the government paid the subsidies allocated to power consumers in time, they emphasised.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2019.
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