Defaulters owing Rs449b still getting power

QESCO accounts for almost half of nationwide default; 450 officials of DISCOs under investigation

Zafar Bhutta April 03, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Despite launching an anti-power theft drive and a recovery campaign against defaulters, power distribution companies have failed to disconnect supply to running defaulters despite outstanding dues having climbed to Rs449 billion.

After launching the anti-power theft drive, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government claims to have recovered an additional Rs40 billion during the last three months. Incidentally, around 450 power distribution companies’ officials are facing inquiries due to collusion with consumers involved in power theft. This was revealed in a report submitted to the Cabinet Committee on Energy.

Out of a total of Rs701 billion in receivables, power distribution companies are still owed Rs449 billion by running defaulters. These influential power consumers are still receiving electricity despite not paying their bills, officials said.

Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) was at the top with over Rs219.73 billion in receivables from running defaulters. Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) is to receive Rs81.25 billion from running defaulters. Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) is to receive Rs55 billion, Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) Rs46.6 billion and Tribal Electric Supply Company (Tesco) Rs35.3 billion from running defaulters in the power sector. Out of total receivables, Pesco was to receive Rs123 billion from consumers, Hesco Rs68.04 billion, Sepco Rs100 billion, Qesco Rs237.4 billion and Tesco Rs40.58 billion.

Meanwhile, the federal government owes distributors Rs11.13 billion, Azad Jammu and Kashmir government owes Rs114 billion and provinces owe Rs31.32 billion. Consumers who have been disconnected for non-payment owe a total of Rs95.39 billion.

The cabinet committee has now directed the Power Division to submit a viable plan for recovery of receivables of each power distribution company in consultation with the Finance Division and submit it to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) for consideration.

A government official said that the power sector defaulters had been divided into two categories, which include running and discontinued. Running defaulters are those whose bills have not been paid and their connections have not been disconnected despite the unpaid dues. These running defaulters have been directed to pay their outstanding dues; otherwise, their connections would be discontinued.

There are other consumers whose connections have been discontinued due to non-payment of bills. They have been asked to clear their outstanding bills for the restoration of their connections.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2019.

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