The poor performance of power distribution companies has irked authorities as the former have failed to increase their revenue despite a considerable increase in power tariffs.
The annual financial report issued by the Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) for the fiscal year 2013-2014 shows a decline in the recovery of arrears while the losses at certain feeders are shown to have increased.
The water and power secretary has reportedly warned Sepco officials to improve the recovery of bills and curtail losses within one month or face disciplinary action.
According to the report, which is available with The Express Tribune, the majority of the feeders are running with more than 50 per cent losses. The sub-division-I of Sukkur is running with 41.6 per cent losses with a recovery of 73.50 per cent. All low tension conductors in this particular division were replaced by anti-theft cable and digital meters two years ago but these measures have failed to curtail power theft.
The Saeedabad feeder at Site sub-division is running at 88.7 per cent losses with a recovery of only 8.95 per cent. Similarly, the New Pind feeder of Site sub-division is also running with 80.7 per cent losses and a recovery of 28.56 per cent. The worst performing sub-division is Old Sukkur, with four feeders. The overall recovery at this sub-division is 37.82 per cent and its losses are recorded at 75.6 per cent. Despite this poor performance, the sub-divisional officer of this particular area was given the charge of Bunder Road sub-division after its SDO was suspended over a minor issue.
Interestingly, the recovery at the feeders in rural areas is far better as compared to the feeders in the urban centres. A Sepco officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that officers were always held responsible for the losses and low recovery while the linemen and meter readers were never held accountable. The officer alleged that meter readers record lesser readings after taking bribes from the customers and the linemen climb the poles to provide direct lines to the customers.
According to him, Sepco can become financially secure only if the officials took action against the meter readers and ended political influence in the department.
Sepco chief executive officer Munawar Nazir Abbasi could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts to contact him. The public relations officer, Noor Ahmed Soomro, said that the company was trying its best to overcome losses and improve the recovery position. He added that the utility had disconnected many illegal connections, besides changing faulty meters, which were part of its efforts to curb power theft.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2014.
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