ISLAMABAD: An official report available with The Express Tribune reveals some startling facts about power theft in the country.
The report maintains that power pilferage caused an Rs100 billion loss to the national exchequer in 2011-12, with Balochistan accounting for a mammoth 63.8% of the losses. Furthermore, it states that Punjab – which has repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction for bearing the brunt of load shedding – has the best recovery ratio.
Sindh follows Balochistan in power theft with its recovery ratio as low as 30 to 50% during the last fiscal year. The Sukkur Electric Supply Company is a major casualty in the province with its recovery ratio at 50.9% against the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company’s 69.1%.
Sindh is also the biggest defaulter of payments. The province owes over Rs50 billion in power bills.
Khyber-Pakthunkhwa (K-P) follows suit in power theft with a recovery ratio of 17.5%. The ratio, however, has been improved by a relatively more efficient Peshawar Electric Supply Company during the last fiscal year.
Punjab’s performance with regard to recovery of payments from consumers is stunning. Its power distribution companies maintained a recovery ratio of 95.8 to 98.5% in 2011-2012.
The province’s two major distribution companies — Gujranwala Electric Supply Company and Faisalabad Electric Supply Company — reported a recovery rate of 98.5% while the Multan Electric Supply Company, Lahore Electric Supply Company and Islamabad Electric Supply Company registered recovery rates of 97.2%, 96.1% and 95.8%, respectively.
Power theft poses a serious threat to the country’s power distribution system. The ongoing energy crisis is also a major bone of contention between the ruling party and other political parties and has been deliberated upon in different forums such as the Council of Common Interests and Public Accounts Committee meetings.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2012.