Wednesday August 17, 2022

PAC asks DISCOs to transfer long-serving officials

January 06, 2022
PAC asks DISCOs to transfer long-serving officials

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee has recommended the transfer of long-serving officials in power distribution companies to break the bribery network.

The Public Accounts Committee also directed to implement the recommendations to prevent power theft and line losses. The recommendations were made during the PAC meeting headed by Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain here Wednesday in which the audit paras of the Ministry of Energy for the year 2019-20 were examined.

The members of the Public Accounts Committee raised the issue of rising electricity bills. Presenting the bill in the committee as evidence, PAC member Shahida Akhtar Ali said the bill shows consumption of 174 units against which they were billed for Rs8,000. Ali questioned why do people have to be punished for defective feeders or if power was stolen from them. “It is not the fault of the people,” she said. Sheikh Rohail Asghar said that power theft was not possible without the complicity of the meter reader. “Make the concerned SDO responsible for power theft and power theft will stop,” he remarked.

The officials of the Ministry of Energy told the committee that power companies were not allowed to recruit staff for a long period of time and due to lack of staff, monitoring is not being conducted. Rana Tanveer Hussain said that everyone knows about the higher salaries of officers of the power companies. “Your driver's salary is more than that of Member of Parliament but they are not ready to work,” he remarked. He said every government bans hiring staff for austerity campaign. “Should work be stopped if no recruitment was being made or companies faced shortage of staff,” he asked. PAC member Noor Alam Khan said officers work at particular posting for 15-20 years in power distribution companies, which has created a mess. “Transfer officers to break the bribery network,” she said.

While giving a briefing, the secretary Energy said that different electricity distribution companies have different rates of electricity theft. “I assume the office two weeks ago,” he told the committee. Energy ministry officials told the committee that as much 17pc of electricity was stolen across the country. The committee was told that PESCO has 233 feeders where 65 to 100 percent of electricity is stolen. Audit officials said that Rs39 billion electricity was stolen from Peshawar Electric Supply Company. The committee was briefed that QESCO has to collect Rs367 billion from Balochistan.

Chairman PAC Rana Tanveer Hussain said the circular debt is accumulated from pending accounts. PAC members Khawaja Muhammad Asif said electricity meant for the agricultural tubewells of Balochistan is being provided to others.

Federal Minister Shibli Faraz said that the energy department has to look after the defaulters separately as some people deliberately do not pay the bill, while some do not pay the bill under duress. “Some only run a fan and a bulb and cannot pay the bill,” he said. He said the inefficiencies of the energy sector are put into line losses. He said power distribution companies should formulate a separate strategy for each circle.