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August 11, 2018

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Next govt suggested to take steps for curbing power theft

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary committee on Friday recommended the next government to take measures for curbing power theft.

In its proposals, the committee said the PTI government should provide 400 free electricity units to those mosques whose prayer leader issues Fatwa against power theft.

A subcommittee of the Senate Standing Committee on Power, convened by Senator Nauman Wazir on Friday recommended the ministry to garner support of religious scholars and get a Fatwa against stolen electricity and its repercussion on daily life as per the Shariah rules. The rampant electricity theft has been inflicting billions of rupees losses on the national exchequer every year, resulting in ballooning circular debt that currently is more than half a trillion rupees.

The committee also recommended providing distribution companies (Discos) with 200 police force and two magistrates. The salaries and other expenses of these would be paid by Discos.

The subcommittee also recommended that all feeders of high losses should be outsourced for metering, billing and collection of bill amount. On year-on-year basis, the revenue generation/month by the contractor would be shared 50:50 between the Discos and contractor, it proposed. No Disco staff would be laid off by the contractor.

It also suggested there should be no political interference in the constitution of boards of directors of the power utilities, as it would harm the functioning and financial health of these companies. The committee also noted that previously, Discos board of directors was appointed on political basis.

The previous PML-N government had caused a loss of Rs40 billion to Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) by forcing it to implement zero load shedding in high-loss making areas, it said.

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) also informed the committee that because of security issues, Sukkur Electric Supply Company has been allowed 13 percent losses, Pesco 11 percent, Tribal Electric Supply Company (Tesco) 6.5 percent and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) has been allowed 5.5 percent losses.

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