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Wednesday April 24, 2024

Nepra chief for stern action over power theft

Mukhtar says power situation reached to extent where tough decisions have to be made by govt, masses to rectify lingering issues

By Munawar Hasan
September 17, 2023
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) sign can be seen on a building. — APP/File
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) sign can be seen on a building. — APP/File

LAHORE: The power regulator has stressed the need for taking tough decisions to improve the affairs of power sector while addressing key challenges hindering progress on ensuring viability and efficiency.

Talking to the media here Saturday, Waseem Mukhtar, Chairman National Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), said the power situation has reached to an extent where tough decisions have to be made by the government and the masses to rectify the lingering issues. In the past, there might be some reasons that drastic decisions were not taken for controlling electricity theft and improving governance in the power sector.

However, he said if we want to drive sustainability in the power sector and keep power tariff at an affordable level, we have to deal with the menace of power theft with an iron hand, take stern action against the staff involved in pilferage and bring private sector at distribution level to improve service delivery.

The people have to support the government on these tough decisions, he said, adding Nepra is taking action against overbilling. “We have formed a committee to settle the issue of overbilling after holding a hearing of all power distribution companies. We will pursue this issue and take final decision after holding another hearing on this issue”, he informed the media. The consumers should have the choice to buy electricity from any company they deem it appropriate, he suggested. There is a concept of free market around the world, the Nepra chairman pointed out.

To a question, he said the electricity generation capacity stands at 48,000 megawatts, including K-Electric. NTDC gets electricity by looking at the production cost of any plant. Regarding tariff hike, the chairman Nepra said a public hearing was held on the petition to increase electricity prices.

He made it clear Nepra tried its best to minimise the burden on the public and only allowed a lower rate of power. “Nepra does not decide to increase the prices on its own. We hold hearing involving all the stakeholders,” he elaborated.