ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has called upon the government to focus on curbing the power theft and transmission & distribution losses instead of enhancing power tariffs as these losses were costing billions of rupees to the power sector forcing the general consumers to pay heavy price in the form of high tariffs for the inefficiency of power supply companies.
Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the ECC has approved increase of 10 to 15 percent for domestic consumers consuming above 300 units and 20 percent for commercial consumers that would further enhance the cost of doing business and hike inflation for the common man. He said a report of Senate Committee on Circular Debt has estimated over Rs53 billion as cost of power theft during 2017-18 and burden of such losses was always transferred to the power consumers despite the fact that they had no role in the inefficient performance of power companies. He said that the wise option for the government was to take strong measures for controlling power theft instead of raising power tariff.
ICCI President said that the acceptable benchmark level for T&D losses in developed countries was around 10 percent but some power supply companies in Pakistan were incurring T&D losses of 22-38 percent whereas the system was suffering 17.6 losses and the power consumers were paying very high cost for such losses. He urged that the government should immediately introduce latest technology in power sector to curb power theft and T&D losses as without utilizing technology, these losses could not be controlled. He said the reduction of these losses would yield multiple benefits to the country as it would ensure uninterrupted power supply to industry, give boost to manufacturing activities, improve exports and strengthen the economy.
Rafat Farid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the cumulative receivables of Discos have surged to over Rs.824 billion during 2018 out of which over Rs.244 billion were related to the federal government and its entities. Moreover, there were reportedly 5.3 million consumers who were not paying bills. They urged that the government should take urgent measures to ensure clearance of all the receivables of power supply companies and disconnect all connections as were defaulters or were not paying regular bills.