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Monday March 04, 2024

Plan ready to have Army supervision of loss-making Discos

The government has made up its mind to hand over loss-making Discos to the Pak Army and law enforcement agencies to effectively curb electricity theft and losses and improve recovery of electricity bills

By Our Correspondent
November 30, 2023
A representational image of a transmission tower, also known as an electricity pylon. — AFP/File
A representational image of a transmission tower, also known as an electricity pylon. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The government has made up its mind to hand over loss-making Discos to the Pak Army and law enforcement agencies to effectively curb electricity theft and losses and improve recovery of electricity bills.

The Performance Monitoring Units (PMUs) in every loss-making DISCO are to be headed by a serving brigadier and his supporting staff will comprise officials from FIA and IB with the mandate to identify unscrupulous elements both in DISCOs and people involved in abetting and stealing electricity. The officials would have the powers to take actions.

“We have carved out a plan which is yet to be approved by higher authorities. However, the top functionaries of Power Division have made up their minds to start implementing the plan from HESCO (Hyderabad Electric Supply Company) as a pilot project,” secretary power confirmed to The News.

“This will help identify unscrupulous elements within the DISCO and people hand in glove with theft of electricity and causing billions of rupee losses to national exchequer.”

According to the data for the financial year 2020-21 available with The News, the recovery of electricity bills in HESCO was at 73.7 percent, in SPECO 64.6 percent, in QESCO at 34.66 percent and TESCO at 25.29 percent.

The caretaker energy minister on September 6 announced a crackdown plan on electricity thieves mentioning that the system annually braves the colossal loss on account of electricity theft and failure to pay bills amounting to Rs589 billion.

As of September 6, 2023, the total loss in the Discos where recovery is relatively better — in Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan and Islamabad — amounted to 79 billion units, which is equal to loss of Rs100 bn out of billing of Rs3,044 bn, estimated at 3pc. Similarly, the Discos in Peshawar, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Azad Jammu and Kashmir had losses as high as 60pc. However, in the loss-making companies such as HESCO, SEPCO, QESCO and TESCO, the required results are not being attained which is why it has been decided that Performance Monitoring Units are to be headed by a serving brigadier with supporting staff from FIA and IB.