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May 16, 2018

Chronic defaulters a serious threat to power sector

Top Story

May 16, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The running and permanently disconnected defaulters continue to pose a serious threat to the power sector as their contribution in the menace of circular debt have risen to staggering Rs429.194 billion.

The running defaulters are said to be very influential and most of them have political tentacles, and in power distribution companies (Discos) no one can dare disconnect their electricity connection knowing the fact they are not paying the bills. The running defaulters owe huge amount of Rs351.551 billion to the government, reveals the fact sheet showing the receivables of Discos as of June 2017.

Almost the huge amount of Rs293 billion, that running defaulters are needed to pay, has been accumulated in more than three years’ time, exposing the inefficiency of top mandarins of the ministry during incumbent regime as they have failed to recover the amount from them.

However, out of the total amount of Rs351.551 billion that is needed to be recovered, the running defaulters in jurisdiction of Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) have to pay Rs7.175 billion followed by the defaulters in Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) need to pay Rs1.556 billion, in Fasialabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) Rs1,308, in Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) Rs1.420 billion. The Iesco is considered the best among the ten Discos but it has also failed to receiver Rs1.420 billion from the chronic defaulters.

The running defaulters which also include the agricultural tube wells in Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) need to pay Rs162.923 billion, followed by defaulters in Tesco (Tribal Electric Supply Company) who are needed to pay Rs29.751 billion, in Sukkar Electric Supply Company (Sepco) Rs60.238 billion, in Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) Rs 33.801 billion and in Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) they owe Rs49.242 billion.

The independent experts say that the Rs 351.551 billion is the low hanging fruit for the government to pluck and improve the fiscal situation of the power sector. They suggested that the government is badly needed to either recover the electricity dues from the running defaulters or confiscate their properties through the land revenue board.

Regarding permanently disconnected defaulters, the documents also painted the bleak picture as they have to pay Rs77.66 billion. Under this head the amount has accumulated up to Rs64.091 billion in more than last three years.

But all the governments in the past, including the sitting one, are not inclined to give tough time to the chronic defaulters on account of their influence in the corridors of power.

However, the Ministry of Water and Power says that no doubt, the running defaulters are one of the biggest problems as almost many of them have got the stay order against their dues which is why Discos are unable to get back the arrears.

The officials in the ministry have also admitted that the unscrupulous elements in the Discos facilitate the running defaulters who happened to be the part of the industrial, commercial sectors. The Discos’ top managements, the officials said, have the choice to first disconnect the electricity supply connections and then link the power supply with the recovery of the arrears.

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