Sindh government and HESCO finally resolve to resolve disputes | Pakistan Today

Sindh government and HESCO finally resolve to resolve disputes

KARACHI: In a bid to settle the long running dispute between the Sindh government and the Hyderabad Electric Supply Corporation (HESCO) over outstanding dues of Rs27 billion; the two entities have composed field committees to properly scrutinize the details of the case.
The field committees, constituted of officials of both the Sindh government and HESCO, would evaluate the electricity bills issued to the sub-department of the provincial government in various districts excluding Karachi. The issue of power bills is expected to be resolved amicably, well-placed sources indicated to Pakistan Today.
Sindh government had previously claimed that the power utility company issued them flagrantly inflated electricity billsof Rs 27 billion. However, contrarily, HESCO claims that the bills are perfectly valid and accurate.
The provincial authorities have also presented details on the inflated bills. Compounding the difficulty of resolution of the issue, the management of the corporation insists that records had been destroyed during riots in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.
In 2006, HESCO issued electricity bills of Rs 8 billion to the Sindh government for more than 27,000 electricity meters of various departments. The provincial authorities refused to accept the validity of the billing.
The initial amount has mounted with the passage of time. Continued electricity consumption by the provincial government and surcharges now result in billing verging on Rs 27 billion.
Presently, the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) is facing financial difficulties of its own, being owed billion of rupees by the four provinces which have piled on in recent years.
According to a break-up, Sindh has to compensate WAPDA at least Rs 27 billion, Punjab Rs 6.1 billion, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Rs 14.2 billion and Balochistan Rs 7.4 billion, respectively.
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani, has called upon provincial governments to clear the outstanding dues of Wapda and other utility companies and end the circular debt which is crippling power generation.
Moreover, the Ministry of Finance has also appointed Rana Asad Ameen in the capacity of ombudsman to reconcile between the parties. However neither HESCO or the provincial government are willing to accept the perceived intrusion of the finance ministry.
On a disturbing note, the power utility company has issued bills of Rs100 million to water supply and sewerage projects at Matli and Hali Road. Similarly, it dispatched two electricity bills of Rs 100 million to the Cattle Colony of Hyderabad has two electricity connections although, the cattle colony has yet to be developed. These actions lend credence to voices alleging the deliberate inflation of bills.
Furthermore, the sources state that the Sindh government is presently only accepting only Rs 2 billion of the dues. Now, the nominated representatives of the Sindh government and HESCO will hopefully resolve their differences and establish a proper arrangement. Perhaps this agreement will serve as a model for dispute resolution for a problem which in the era of massive load shedding is only likely to escalate.

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