Electricity bill collection goes up Rs121b in nine months

Published: August 10, 2019
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Mandated by the Economic Coordination Committee, the Central Power Purchasing Agency is taking all necessary steps for establishing an energy market. PHOTO: FILE

Mandated by the Economic Coordination Committee, the Central Power Purchasing Agency is taking all necessary steps for establishing an energy market. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The collection of bills by power distribution companies has gone up by Rs121 billion during the present Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s tenure from October 2018 to June 2019.

According to a performance report prepared by the Power Division, the transmission and distribution losses (T&D) dropped 1.4%, having a positive financial impact of Rs160 billion during the nine-month period.

During a recovery drive, a target was given to the distribution companies for the recovery of Rs8 billion out of the old receivables. However, the companies recorded an increase of Rs121.1 billion in collections from October 2018 to June 2019.

The power sector has undertaken a number of initiatives for reforms in recent months besides turning itself self-sustaining. The initiatives include both administrative and technical measures pertaining to system augmentation and upgrade. The main emphasis is on making electricity affordable and available to all.

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An anti-theft campaign has also been under way across Pakistan since October 13, 2018 with the slogan of zero tolerance for overbilling and corruption. So far, 36,000 FIRs have been registered, 5,318 people arrested and Rs1.37 billion recovered under the drive.

A project titled Advanced Metering Infrastructure is being launched in areas covered by Lahore and Islamabad electric supply companies with $400 million in assistance from the Asian Development Bank.

Peshawar and Sukkur electric supply companies have started installing such cables where they clear feeders in their anti-theft campaign and efforts to remove illegal connections.

Renewable energy policy

The Power Division has drafted a new Renewable Energy Policy 2019 and has sent it to all stakeholders for input. There are proposals for increasing the share of renewable energy in the overall energy mix to 20% by 2025 and to 30% by 2030.

According to the performance report, the monthly growth of circular debt shrank from Rs38 billion to Rs26 billion by June 2019. Efforts are under way to push it down to Rs8 billion per month by June 2020 while by December 2020 the growth will be brought to zero.

In order to address consumer grievances on the spot, the power distribution companies regularly hold open hearings every Saturday at the sub-divisional level. According to the report, a total of 118,183 complaints were received by the Power Division from the Prime Minister Delivery Unit, of which 105,766 complaints were resolved.

Significant achievements were made in the removal of hazards from residential areas and the distribution companies succeeded in removing 12,733 such hazards against 30,954 hazards identified across the country, the report said.

A dedicated portal has also been launched for the safety of employees.

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Record power transmission

A record 23,049 megawatts of electricity was transmitted through the system. In the period 2018-19 to 2021-22, the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) has planned six new grid stations of 500 kilovolts with new transmission lines spread over 2,919 km.

In addition to that, the company has planned 14 new grid stations of 220 kilovolts with new transmission lines of the length of 1,813 km during the same time period.

Mandated by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), according to the report, the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) is taking all necessary steps for establishing an energy market.

The Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB), under the Power Division, is currently handling a portfolio of 25 ongoing projects of cumulative 13,747MW power generation capacity.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2019.

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