LAHORE: Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) incurred more than two billion rupees in losses during the last month – the highest among all the state-owned power distribution companies (discos), official data revealed on Tuesday.
Lesco’s performance was the worst with a total loss of Rs2.136 billion during December 2017 due to incorrect meter reading and high line losses, the monthly performance review of 10 discos by Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) showed.
Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) and Lesco were the worst performers in terms of meter reading’s accuracy with mistakes as high as 29.42 and 26.6 percent, respectively.
Conversely, Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) and Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) were the best with mistakes of 0.96 and 5.94 percent, respectively, followed by Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco).
Infrastructure challenges in energy sector leads to recurrence of circular debts involving oil marketers, distribution companies and delinquent consumers. Pakistan has already breached the commitment given to the International Monetary Fund to scale down the circular debt to Rs235 billion during the current financial year. The debt surpassed the Rs400 billion level despite that the present government managed to bring it down from over Rs500 billion four years ago. An estimate said Pepco owes more than Rs400 billion to state-owned oil marketer Pakistan State Oil and others.
Pepco’s data further showed that Lesco’s worst circle was Kasur district with a loss of Rs364.569 million. The worst two divisions were Kasur rural and Kot Radha Kishan with losses of Rs95.3 million and Rs34.3 million, respectively. A sub-division of Kasur rural area, Elah Abad West and Hallah incurred losses of Rs30.5 million, Rs23.45 million and Rs16.55 million, respectively during the last month.
Pepco’s monthly performance review said the progress of discos development schemes under the phase-I of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals remained satisfactory during the last month. Mepco as well as Fesco completed 3,646 and 1,595 development schemes, respectively in December under the targeted timelines.
All discos except Pesco, Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) and Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) managed to introduce picture-based meter reading for domestic as well as commercial consumers. The country’s power distribution authority said Mepco, Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) and Fesco managed to include mobile phone numbers of 90 percent of their consumers in their database. Performance of Hesco and Sepco was not encouraging as they got only 24 percent of mobile phone numbers till December-end, whereas Pesco and Qesco could barely obtain two percent of mobile phone numbers.
The drive to obtain mobile numbers started to send real-time short messaging service text about meter reading and status of feeder’s fault to consumers on mobile phones.
Pepco’s data showed that Fesco was the best among all the discos with no delay in billing schedule during the last month, closely followed by Mepco. Pesco and Qesco were the worst with maximum delays of 11 and 7 days, respectively in monthly billing.
In December, performance of discos was alarming as far as aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses were concerned.
Pesco incurred Rs5.828 billion in AT&C losses during the last month, while Qesco losses stood at Rs5.829 billion. Pesco’s Bannu circle incurred a loss of Rs1.641 billion. The worst divisions were Karak and Bannu-I with losses of Rs230 million and Rs158 million, respectively. Sub-divisions Mattani booked a loss of Rs133.12 million, Doaba Rs87.28 million and Bannu Rural-I Rs64.26 million.
In Qesco, Makran CIR circle posted the highest loss of Rs456.69 million. The city’s worst divisions were Sibi and Turbat with losses of Rs254.6 million and Rs250.34 million, respectively. Sui sub-division recorded a loss of Rs87 million, Lehri Rs71.56 million and Harnai Rs60.9 million.
Pepco issued letters of explanation for poor performance to the concerned officials of discos and asked them to respond within 14 days, its spokesperson said.
Chief executive officers of all discos were also directed to take disciplinary actions against their subordinates as per the law to arrest the unsustainable quantum of losses and increase in circular debt.