Power Division told to reshuffle DISCOs CEOs

Senate panel chairman issues directives over allegations of mala fide actions, diminishing power sector’s capacity

Zafar Bhutta September 15, 2023


The Senate Standing Committee on Power has directed the Power Division to reshuffle the chief executive officers of power distribution companies (Discos) and board of directors of various authorities over allegations of mala fide actions and diminishing the power sector’s capacity.

“The Power Division should reshuffle the CEO's of Discos and BoDs of various authorities, who allegedly acted mala fide and diminished the capacity of power sector,” Saifulah Abro, the chairman of the committee, said while chairing a meeting held here at Old PIPS Hall Parliament Lodges on Thursday.

Additional Power Division Secretary Arshad Majid told the Senate committee that the crackdown against electricity theft was launched on Sept 7 and Discos were asked to take strict measures for the recovery of Rs589 billion.

He said that the performance of Discos was disappointing in the first four days as they recovered only Rs20.5 million.

However, Majid said that approximately around Rs1 billion worth of recovery had been made in the last few days and the Power Division had also reshuffled the officers of various Discos to ensure its efficiency.

He said the Peshawar Electric Supply Company chief executive officer was removed on Wednesday as he failed to increase the recovery.

So far, eight officers of Islamabad Electric Supply Company had been suspended while an officer of Sukkur Electric Power Company was handed over to the FIA on allegations of corruption, the additional secretary said.

Upon this, the Senate committee chairman said it was good that a corrupt officer was caught.

He also asked who was responsible for this disaster and why the ministry was asleep earlier.

He said that the Power Division secretary lacked the courage to come to the meeting and tell the details.

The secretary should be changed because he did not stop the deterioration of the power sector for a long time, Senator Abro said.

Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi said that the secretary and caretaker energy minister should attend this meeting.
Abro instructed to call the secretary to attend the meeting.

He also said that if the interim energy minister thought that he had come to enjoy for only three months, then it was fine, otherwise if he was serious to solve the problems of the energy sector, “he should immediately come to attend the meeting”.

The Senate committee applauded the Power Division for taking swift action against the line losses and electricity theft in different Discos.

Meanwhile, Abro voiced serious concerns over the absence of the chairman and members of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) from the meeting, deciding to issue them summons to attend the next meeting.

Expressing annoyance, the Senate standing committee chairman questioned why the Nepra chairman did not come to the meeting?

“We have appointed Wasim Mukhtar as the chairman of Nepra and if he wants to continue his job, he should attend the meeting,” Senator Abro said, adding that the Nepra chairman and its members should be asked to come to the meeting immediately.

Responding to the committee chairman, Nepra officials informed that he was busy in an important meeting.
Senator Tangi said that they supported the crackdown against electricity theft.

For the first time, “we have seen something happen for meter supply and recovery”, Senator Tangi said.

The Senate panel expressed annoyance over the non-implementation of the committee recommendations relating to 765kV double circuit transmission line from Dasu Hydro Power Station to Islamabad.

The Additional Secretary, Power Division informed that ministry has constituted a Committee to investigate the matter and the report will be submitted once it is completed.

Senator Abro reiterated that the committee explicitly identified irregularities in the bidding process for the 'Construction of 765KV double Circuit Transmission line from Dasu Hydro Power Station to Islamabad' but irony was that, despite making recommendations several times to take action against the alleged officials, the Power Division had not taken any action.

He stated that formation of committee was the prerogative of the National Transmission and Despatch Company, and the letter written by the Power Division to the World Bank for identifying procurement mismanagement in the bidding process held no legal standing.