The Lahore High Court chief justice on Tuesday expressed disappointment over mismanagement in the power sector and federal government’s failure to come up with solutions to control theft and misuse of electricity.
Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial who is hearing a petition against unscheduled electricity load shedding and mismanagement in distribution companies, (Discos) remarked that the government had not come up with a concrete policy on power generation and conservation.
He said ‘fancy imported’ technology was being used for generating power and a huge subsidy was being given by the government.
Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) Managing Director Zargham Ishaq Khan, who is also the National Transmission and Despatch Company’s Managing Director and the Joint Secretary for Ministry of Water and Power, appeared before the court with the federal government’s counsel.
The counsel admitted that the government had not issued any directions to Discos about energy conservation. He said 80 per cent of the process to implement the load management system was complete.
He said electricity theft and unannounced load shedding would end after the system was implemented.
The chief justice said that the government had decided to implement the load management system after 10 years of power crisis. He regretted that the government had not considered alternative sources like hydel projects on water falls to generate power.
The CJ observed that the people might not need electricity to run air conditioners but they definitely needed it to run their business and get undisturbed sleep at night.
The petitioner’s counsel Azhar Siddique also questioned the administration of Discos and appointment of their directors.
He said the directors of all Discos had been appointed without clear criteria criteria.
The chief justice observed that the directors of the Discos had become ‘dummies’ and the federal government was calling the shots.
The CJ also noted that in many cases commercial feeders were not shut down from 8pm to 10pm as laid down.
Advocate Khawaja Tariq Rahim, the ministry’s counsel, however, stated that the two-hour closure of the feeders was being strictly observed.
The CJ adjourned further hearing till June 19 and directed the authorities to furnish criteria and mechanism adopted for the appointment of Discos’ boards of directors.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2013.