Wednesday February 21, 2024

Power sector faces huge financial crunch

April 08, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s power sector has landed into hot water as its recovery of electricity bills and efficiency gains have alarmingly nosedived by almost 85 percent from Rs8-10 billion per day to Rs1.5-2 billion per day because of the countrywide lockdown imposed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

The drive against electricity theft across the country that provided the dividend of Rs122 billion, but on account of lockdown the recovery massively tumbled to Rs1.5-2 billion a day which was in last 10 days of March at Rs8-10 billion per day.

“Yes, we are facing the huge financial crunch as the anti-theft campaign has come to standstill in the wake of lockdown and more importantly we cannot afford to put the lives of our field staff in danger,” a senior official at Power Division confirmed to The News. When contacted Secretary Power Division Irfan Ali said: “Yes, the huge financial crunch power sector is facing right now because of the extremely abnormal situation.” However, he didn’t talks more on the subject.

Senior official, however, responded when asked how much loss in to power sector will experience saying that it is an evolving situation and no one knows for how long COVID-19 phenomenon will last. He said that Power Division is under instruction not to collect the electricity bills upto 300 units from masses for three months and after the said time, it will start collecting. And more importantly, people are not depositing their bills and owing to these factors, massive reduction in recovery Power Division is facing.

And more importantly, monthly fuel price adjustment and quarterly tariff adjustment have already been frozen and in the said two heads, there is no increase in the tariff as per the wishes of prime minister, the tariff in on way to stabilisation.

“We have also softened strictness while dealing with industrial and commercial sectors in terms of anti-electricity theft campaign and in addition under the given situation, Industrial and commercial sector may consider any action as any kind harassment on behalf of Power Division and we cannot do that as the economic activities have also went down and the situation is quite abnormal but it has exposed power sector to huge financial crunch.”