At least 100 people were booked for electricity theft on Friday as the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) launched a drive against power pilferers in the southern districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). The power company also disconnected power supply to four villages between Nowshera and Peshawar for non-payment of electricity bills.
Abdur Rauf, the Pesco sub-division officer for Bannu urban-circle, said dozens of illegal connections were found during raids conducted by Pesco teams in Kabari Ghali and Rehmatabad areas. He said that First Information Reports were registered against the people with the Bannu City Police for due action.
Pesco Bannu-circle Senior Engineer Marwat warned that if Pesco employees were found cooperating with power stealers, strict disciplinary action will be taken against them.
Meanwhile, Pesco disconnected power supply to Banda Mulla Khan, Fazal Koroona, Camp Koroona and Shiekh Ismail Khan villages, situated between Nowshera and Peshawar, due to non-payment of around Rs7.5 million dues. Consumers in Banda Mulla Khan, Fazal Koroona and Camp Koroona villages owe Rs2.2 million, Rs150,000 and Rs800,000 respectively to Pesco.
Pesco Spokesperson Shaukat Afzal said a majority of the residents of these suburban villages were found using electricity directly from the grid by attaching metal hooks to power lines. He said Pesco officials made announcements though loud speakers in these areas to remove the illegal connections, “but only a fraction of the consumers paid heed to the warnings”. He said that after strict action was taken against the villagers, only a few of them have started paying Pesco their dues; the rest have not even applied for new connections.
Pesco, which maintains that it needs around Rs3billion per month to operate, estimates its monthly loss due to power pilferage at Rs4 billion. The power company currently faces around Rs49 billion in unpaid electricity bills.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2012.
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