Streetlights’ bills: Lights out at CDA offices

IESCO cuts power supply over ‘non-payment of dues’.

Our Correspondent August 31, 2015
IESCO cuts power supply over ‘non-payment of dues’. PHOTO: IRFAN ALI/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) on Monday disconnected power supply to the offices of the capital’s civic agency for non-payment of streetlight bills amounting to Rs827.5 million – an amount the agency claims is charged wrongly against nonfunctioning lights.

The disconnection of electricity to the headquarters of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) against nonoperational streetlights is not new and both departments — the CDA and Iesco — have different stances over it.

The issue traces back to November 15, 2012 to a meeting chaired by former water and power secretary Nargis Sethi to discuss energy conservation methods.

The meeting had decided the CDA would switch off 50 per cent of its streetlights to conserve energy.

The decision was followed and the streetlight division disconnected electricity connections to alternate streetlights as per the decision.

Before that, CDA was paying bills against 3.7 million units per month generated from over 65,000 streetlights installed within its territorial limits.

After disconnecting half of the streetlights, CDA contacted Iesco and after conveying the government’s decision it requested that in future the authority should be charged against 1.8 million units per month. However, Iesco continued to send streetlights bills calculated against 3.7 million units per month.

Due to the dispute over the issue, a committee having representation from the Iesco and CDA was formed and until settlement of the dispute it was decided that the CDA would continue to pay bills based on its record.

“It was agreed in the final meeting that in future CDA will be charged against 1.9 million units per month for streetlights. In light of the decision, CDA cleared all its dues,” said a senior official of the authority.

He said now, violating that decision, Iesco sent the previous years’ erroneous bills calculated on 3.8 million units per month which is unjustified.

When contacted, Iesco public relations official Afshan Khan said the electricity had been disconnected after outstanding dues crossed their limit.

She said CDA was one of the biggest defaulting government departments of Iesco.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2015.

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