ISLAMABAD: A three-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan has floated the idea of making collection of electricity bills; control of power losses and security of electricity installations a provincial subject.
“Let the attorney general seek instructions from the federal and provincial governments that the provinces should start purchasing electricity in bulk from the federal government and the money should be cut from their share in the annual National Finance Commission (NFC) Award,” noted the bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Wednesday.
Hearing a suo moto case on intensive load shedding, the bench in its order noted that the provinces should start collecting electricity bills, bring down the number of defaulters, minimise line losses and electricity theft and ensure security and safety of electricity installations in their respective areas.
Deferring further hearings till June 26 the bench, which also comprised Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman, remarked that provinces should share the responsibility of increasing power supply and decreasing load shedding.
Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) Managing Director Zargham Ahmed informed the bench that according to the standards of the regulator, the authorized power line loss is an estimated 16% of total power generation while currently the actual loss was believed to be near 22%.
Updating the bench on the provinces’ power demand supply status, the Pepco head revealed that Punjab was getting 7740 mega watt (MW) electricity per day against its demand of 12080MW.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was supplied 1870MW against its demand of 2700MW. Sindh and Balochistan were getting 1403MW and 701MW per day against their respective demands of 2200MW and 1200MW.
Zargham told the bench that Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) needed 1600MW per day and received 1169MW and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) demanded 980MW and was getting only 250MW through the national grid station.
In response to a query by the court, the Pepco MD said there were 10 to 15 licenses holders who could generate thermal powered electricity, and four to five firms with licenses to generate hydel power. None of them had installed their projects yet, he told the court.
Apprising the bench, Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) director Noman Wazir said that in the many such projects in the Northern Areas were in limbo, and if started could produce lots of electricity.
Wazir also claimed that these license holders were not starting their projects because they were waiting for a good price to sell their licenses to other buyers.
Taking a serious note of this information, the bench issued notices to the KP Chief Secretary asking him to collect detailed information on the issue and submit it to the court on the next date of hearing.
Regarding the equitable distribution of electricity, the SC in response to the Attorney General (AG) of Pakistan Munir A. Malik’s reply, said the National Transmission and Distribution Company (NTDC) and other distribution companies should sit with the industrial stakeholders and come up with a workable formula.
The AG informed the bench that there had been differences among the stakeholders about the equitable distribution of electricity following the apex court’s orders.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2013.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ