The Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) is having difficulty in recovering dues from power consumers in Badbher, suburban Peshawar.
People living in Mashogagar, Mera Badbher, Afridi Road, Qaziabad, Badbher Kali and Main Kohat Road have not paid their power bills for years, leading them to owe millions to Pesco. The total amount owed is over Rs520 million.
According to figures available, there are 7642 domestic consumers in the area out of which the power of 1994 consumers has been disconnected for not paying their bills. Out of the remaining 5648 consumers, 3393 are defaulters.
Pesco employee Abdullah, explaining the careless attitude of consumers not paying electricity bills, said: “Residents do not even bother to collect their power bills from the designated shops in their areas, where sometimes the bills stay for years.”
Sub-division officer (SDO) Nadar Wali, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that Pesco had asked for the help of police and registered FIRs against those stealing electricity by not paying bills. The SDO further said that he had registered 20 FIRs in the past week.
“In the last six months about 100 FIRs have been lodged. The total number is more than 500 but this has not proven effective in discouraging people from creating illegal power connections and ignoring their electricity bills,” said Wali.
“We have started holding jirgas in houses of noted people of the area wherein the elders are asked to cooperate in the recovery process of dues from the consumers,” said Wali discussing a new communication plan devised.
So far three such jirgas have been held; one in Badbher at the hujra of Khushdil Khan, deputy speaker of the K-P assembly, one at Saqibullah Chamkani’s house in Zangali and a third at the residence of Haji Sifatullah at Mashogagar.
However, the recovery process was very slow, Wali added.
A Pesco Superintendant, requesting not to be named, said that in the Mashogagar area, Pesco is owed millions from the 400 consumers but so far only 22 people had paid Rs1000 each and one person Rs5000 out of the large amounts they owe.
Syed Jan Afridi, a resident of Mashogagar said: “If a person earns Rs4000 and has an electricity bill of Rs3000, it leads him to electricity theft and non-payment of bills.”
“The idea of holding jirga is good to build understanding between Pesco and consumers,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2012.