ISLAMABAD: The misgovernance and corruption in cash bleeding power sector touched new heights under the rule of the PPP-led regime as the government failed to collect Rs495 billion electricity bills in last 11 months as recovery ratio stood at just 47 percent out of total sent billings, it is learnt.
“The lowest recovery of electricity bills has resulted into piling up of the monster of circular debt every year despite the fact that the government raised power tariff by over 150 percent in its last four-year rule but torturous loadshedding has been on the rise, causing rampant riots in different parts of the country,” a senior official of Finance Division disclosed while talking to The News here on Saturday.
This startling disclosure has surfaced in a fact sheet of the Ministry of Finance, which was prepared on the basis of calculations done by finance managers of Pepco authorities.
When MD Pepco Mehsud Khan was contacted, he said that looking after recovery of electricity bills was handed over to chairman Wapda so he would not be in a position to offer any comments. When asked why this responsibility was shifted towards chairman Wapda, he said it was the policy and priority of the government.
It is relevant to mention here that Discos are responsible for recovery of bills and the government has just recently handed over the responsibility of monitoring of power situation and load management to chairman Wapda.
However, spokesman for Ministry of Water and Power Zargham Khan did not agree to the figures of such a huge amount of non recovery of electricity bills and said that the power sector collected Rs461 billion electricity bills out of total sent bills of Rs534 billion in first 10 months of the current fiscal year. All power generation companies, he said, generated 74 trillion units of electricity but the Discos sold 72 trillion units and the rest were the losses on account of technical issues and theft. He said the average recovery of bills by nine Discos was standing in the range of 80 to 83 percent as there were major companies including Lesco, Gesco, Mepco and Iesco where recovery of bills was almost 95 percent.
There is another interesting aspect in the cash bleeding power sector as the figures of stakeholders including Pepco, Discos and Ministry of Finance never matched with each other. If you ask the power sector about exact subsidy amount requirements, they will always come up with new figure each and every time even if the meeting is convened twice in a day. There has been distribution margins (DM) of Discos that accounted to the tune of Rs100 billion plus line losses of 20 percent that cost up to Rs200 billion so the net losses were in the range of Rs300 billion. According to the fact sheet, all the distribution companies billed Rs895.3 billion to the electricity consumers including Karachi Electricity Supply Company (KESC) but the actual collection stood at only Rs400.8 billion, indicating just 47% collection of the total billing.
The lowest collection of electricity bills was done in February 2012 when the collection was just 26 percent as collected bills stood at Rs26 billion against sent bills of Rs99.166 billion while highest collection was made in November 2011 by showing 71 percent as collected bills amount was standing at Rs41 billion compared to sent bills of Rs57 billion. In July 2011, the sent electricity bills were standing at Rs81 billion out of which the recovery was just Rs35 billion, registering only 43 percent recovery of total billing. In second month (August 2011) of the current fiscal year, the recovery ratio went up to 45 percent as collected bills were Rs39 billion against total billing of Rs87 billion.
In September 2011, the recovery of bills improved and touched 58 percent by collecting Rs45 billion against total billing of Rs79 billion. The collection of electricity bills nosedived to 40 percent in October 2011 as amount of collected bills stood at Rs45 billion against total billing of Rs114 billion. The collection of bills touched 71 percent and Rs41 billion were collected against total billing of Rs57 billion.
The collected bills stood at Rs40 billion against total billing of Rs80 billion in December 2011, registering recovery of bills by 51 percent.
In January and February 2012, the amount of collected bills stood at Rs29 billion and Rs26 billion and registered recovery of just 38 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
In March 2012, the recovery of bills fetched Rs31 billion against total billing of Rs51 billion, registering 61 percent recovery. In April the recovered amount of electricity bills stood at Rs30 billion against the billing of Rs79 billion, registering a recovery of just 38 percent. In eleventh month (May 2012), the recovery of bills stood at Rs35 billion against total send bills of Rs87 billion, indicating a recovery of just 41 percent.