Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday sought details of the Alternative Energy Development Board’s progress in the development of alternative energy resources, since its inception in 2003.
The court was hearing a petition against long spells of load shedding in the province. Justice Bandial said that it appeared that all AEDB’s work was on paper and that it had nothing practical to show for it. He said the AEDB, “should do something practical for the people.”
Deputy Attorney General Nasim Kashmiri submitted that the federal government had taken several steps to generate electricity from coal and solid waste. The AEDB has submitted recommendations to the government on how to produce cheaper electricity, he said. Justice Bandial asked if several countries used solid waste to produce electricity, why Pakistan was not doing so. Lahore Electricity Supply Company Chief Muhammad Saleem appeared before the court and submitted that the LESCO had launched a crackdown on electricity theft, resulting in the saving of 17MW. He said notices had been issued to people using more electricity than sanctioned. He said the LESCO had taken several steps to reduce waste of electricity. This, he said, had helped reduce load shedding. Justice Bandial appreciated the effort and said other DISCOs should follow its example.
Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Azhar Siddique had filed the petition saying the Punjab is being discriminated against in load shedding.
He has said power theft is worse in other provinces and recovery of dues lower than that in the Punjab.
He has said even though public hospitals were meant to be exempt from load shedding three patients had died last month due to load shedding.
He has said Bahria Town Housing Society has been exempt from load shedding in violation of Articles 9 and 25 of the Constitution.
Siddique said that the court had directed the federal government and the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) at a previous hearing, to ensure equal load shedding across the country, but this had not happened. He requested court directions to departments concerned to ensure that there was no unscheduled load shedding.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2013.