ISLAMABAD: The uninterrupted power supply to business and industry was the basic requirement for sustainable economic growth of Pakistan, but during 2017-18, Pakistan’s economy suffered loss of over Rs.53 billion due to power theft, which was cause of great concerns. The government should utilize latest technology to eliminate power theft that would help in saving the industry and economy from further losses. This was urged by Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry in a statement.
ICCI President said the Senate Standing Committee on Power was recently informed about the filing of cases against 20,000 employees of several Discos who were involved in abetting power theft. It showed that the connivance of Discos employees was playing significant role in theft of electricity in the country, which should be curbed with solid measures. He stressed that strong action should be taken against the employees of Discos who were involved in promoting their self-interests at the cost of Pakistan’s national interests. He said the whole nation including the business community was paying inflated bills for the crimes of the employees of Discos, which was unjustified. He emphasized that government should introduce digital meters and smart cables across the country and for this purpose, provide incentives to Discos that would help in reducing power theft in Pakistan.
Rafat Farid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that transmission & distribution (T&D) losses in Pakistan were ranging from 18 percent to 38 percent that were very high as compared to the benchmark T&D losses of around 10 percent in advanced countries.
They said that high T&D losses have contributed Rs.187 billion over the past five years to the overall circular debt which should be a cause of concern for the policymakers. They said that due to poor performance of Discos in recovery of bills, the cumulative receivables of these companies have soared to over Rs.824 billion by the end of FY2018.
They stressed that government should devise a comprehensive strategy for Discos to recover all outstanding receivables and disconnect connections of those persons/entities who were not regular in payment of bills. It will improve power supply to trade and industry leading to early recovery of the economy.