Secretary highlights power theft divergence in Multan, Peshawar districts

By Our Correspondent
September 26, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Power Division’s approach to electricity bill collection has raised concerns as it compares two vastly different districts.

One district enjoys relative peace, while the other contends with security challenges due to militancy and an influx of illegal Afghan refugees.

The Secretary of the Power Division shared pie charts through his X account to illustrate the disparities between these districts. Although both districts have similar populations, literacy rate, and levels of urbanisation, Peshawar exhibits significantly higher power theft and lower electricity cost recovery than Multan.

In Multan, with 4.57 million consumers, electricity supply amounted to Rs111 billion, with Rs108 billion recovered and a loss of Rs3 billion. In contrast, Peshawar, with a population of 4.27 million, transmitted electricity worth Rs100 billion but only managed to recover Rs70 billion, resulting in a staggering Rs30 billion loss due to non-recovery and theft.

The Secretary noted if this financial loss were translated into educational resources, the equivalent of 40-degree colleges in Peshawar and four-degree colleges in Multan would be lost to theft annually. He also mentioned that the revised cost of the Peshawar Northern Bypass was Rs22 billion.

In terms of allowed losses set by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), technical, administrative, and other losses amounted to Rs25 billion in Peshawar, whereas in Multan, they stood at Rs16 billion. But, currently, losses in Peshawar stands at Rs55 billion and in Multan at Rs19 billion.

The Secretary also compared socioeconomic indicators for both districts. Peshawar’s literacy rate was 57 percent, slightly lower than Multan’s 58 percent, and on the poverty index, Peshawar scored 0.69 while Multan registered 0.70. The use of laptops in Peshawar was at 25 percent, significantly higher than Bhakkar’s 12 percent. Urbanization rate showed Peshawar at 46 percent and Multan at 43 percent.