‘Anti-power pilferage drive’: Staggering Rs85b recovered till Dec 2023

  • Only 10pc recovery of power theft achieved till December 2023

ISLAMABAD: The launch of the campaign against electricity theft has resulted in the recovery of a staggering total of Rs 85.7 billion by December 2023.

Despite only achieving 10 percent recovery of power theft since the commencement of the anti-theft drive in the second week of August 2023, the efforts undertaken have borne fruit in curbing illicit electricity consumption which marks a crucial step forward in combating the pervasive issue of power theft in the country.

These revelations were made during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Power, which was held under chair Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar.

On Tuesday, the senate committee meeting commenced with the chairperson inquiring about the report regarding the two matters regarding awarding of contracts to (M/s Sinohydro Corporation) for LoT-I, (M/s Harbin Electric International) for LoT-II and consultant (M/s GOPA Intec) for construction of 765kV double circuit transmission line from Dasu Hydro Power Station to Islamabad I/C Grid Station and ADB project ACSR Bunting Conductor LoT-11 A discussed and referred to Power Division in the last meeting.

The Secretary, Power Division assured the Committee Members of the efforts being made for progress. In detail, the Secretary, Power Division briefed the status of circular debt, explaining that all circular debts had met their set target of Rs. 2,310 trillion as of December 21, 2023, including those successfully negotiated with the IMF, ensuring consistency in 2024 as well.

The Power Division attributed the achievement of targets to efficiency in managing the power sector, addressing technical and commercial losses through tariff adjustments. Furthermore, Rs. 85.7 billion have been recovered due to anti-theft drive that started in the second week of August 2023. The ministry expressed confidence that addressing circular debt would lead to progress rather than regression.

The Secretary of the Power Division emphasized that they have imposed restrictions on staff posting to control electricity theft, despite objections from the Election Commission. The Chairman Committee expressed optimism and appreciation for their performance.

Speaking on the occasion, Senator Behramand Tangi said that the campaign against electricity theft is not being conducted under regular procedures. He said that action against electricity thieves is not being done under sustainable method. He said there is no system of FIR, there is no way to cut the meter and collect the bill in case of electricity theft.

Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar stated that legislation will have to be made to block identity cards of electricity thieves.

The Managing Director (MD), NESPAK provided a detailed briefing on DTLP (Lot-I by M/s Sinohydro Corporation Limited), DTLP (Lot-II by M/s Harbin Electric International), DTLP (Consultant Hiring by M/s GOPA Intec), and ADB-4018-2022 (M/s Newage Cables Lahore). Additionally, he discussed the pre-qualification matter with Lot-I by M/s Sinohydro Corporation Limited thoroughly.

Additionally, the Managing Director of NESPAK also provided a detailed presentation on the consultancy and progress of all NESPAK projects.

The Minister for Energy (Power Division) added that the World Bank, being the donor agency, has the right to set the framework for changes, emphasizing that there was complete transparency and no malicious action from their end. He also clarified the allegations faced by M/s Harbin Electric International, stating that the accusations were false. The Committee expressed satisfaction with the working of the Power Division.

Regarding the restoration of electricity in Mirani Dam Feeder Dasht, District Kech, the Power Division explained that the system had deteriorated due to floods and emphasized the necessity of local support, as 80% of the inefficiency is attributed to a lack of financial resources and law enforcement support.

The Chairman Committee Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar assured the ministry of his support and recommended writing letter to the provincial government of Balochistan to facilitate the supply of electricity in the area.

The meeting was attended by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi, Senator Haji Hidayatullah Khan, Senator Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Senator Sana Jamali, Minister for Energy (Power Division), Asad Rehman Gillani, Secretary, Power Division, Muhammad Zargham Eshaq Khan, Managing Director (MD), National Engineering Services Pakistan (Pvt) Limited (NESPAK) and senior officials from the Ministry of Energy (Power Division), Ministry of Finance, K-Electric, Quetta Supply Electric Company (QESCO), and NTDC (National Transmission & Despatch Company).

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