Electricity consumers, including those who live in the calamity-hit districts of Sindh, have been asked to pay their bills or they will be cut off.
The Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco), which supplies power to 12 out of 24 districts, is owed slightly over Rs6.37 billion by 221,331 private consumers in 60 subdivisions. This is in addition to the Rs17 billion that the Sindh government owes it.
“We have put the recovery drive on a fast track,” said Hesco CEO Muzaffar Abbasi. “We will cut off defaulting consumers.”
Abbasi had assured at a press conference a few days back that any campaign would exclude the flood-affected people. But on Saturday, when Hesco issued details of where action would be taken, the list included areas declared disaster-hit by the government.
The power company has already snapped off the supply to many offices of the town municipal administrations, cantonment board, water filtration plant, education department, fire brigade, meteorological department and Auqaf department, besides others in Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Tando Allahyar, Jamshoro, Tando Muhammad Khan, Badin and Benazirabad districts.
Federal minister for water and power, Syed Naveed Qamar, while talking to the media in Tando Muhammad Khan on Saturday, said ending the energy shortage was contingent on getting consumers to pay up. “As a first step, we have expedited a country-wide recovery campaign,” he added.
According to Qamar, all executives of the power distribution companies have been told to ensure 100% recovery. “We have cut off the supply to several departments of the Sindh government. It will only be restored after the dues are cleared.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2011.