Caretaker Minister for Power and Energy Muhammad Ali has stated that until electricity theft is eradicated, people will not be able to get affordable electricity .
Energy Minister Muhammad Ali, along with Information Minister Murtaza Solangi, addressed a press conference to issue directives for cracking down on electricity theft.
Minister Muhammad Ali emphasized that a task force is being established at the provincial level to curb electricity theft, which costs the country 589 billion rupees annually. Outstanding payments owed to power distribution companies (DISCOs) will not be compromised, and efforts are ongoing to collect these dues swiftly.
The Energy Minister noted that electricity theft occurs at various levels in every region, and non-payment of bills by some consumers places a burden on others. He emphasized that electricity theft is a crime that can result in FIRs being filed, although FIR follow-ups are not usually common in cases of electricity theft.
He stated that efforts are underway to enforce the Electricity Theft Control Act, which will establish special courts. After the law is enacted, individuals involved in electricity theft will face legal penalties through these specialized courts.
The Energy Minister also mentioned that draft proposals will be prepared within two to three weeks, with a target to minimize the 589 billion rupees worth of electricity theft. He stressed that until electricity theft is eliminated and people pay their bills, affordable electricity will not be available. Therefore, the Prime Minister has directed a crackdown on electricity theft.
He also stated that those who do not pay their electricity bills will be pursued for recovery. In Islamabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, and Multan DISCOs, there is a shortfall of 100 billion rupees. Among these five DISCOs, billing amounts to 304.4 billion rupees, with a shortfall of 100 billion rupees.
Muhammad Ali mentioned that Peshawar, Hyderabad, Quetta, Sukkur, tribal areas, and Azad Kashmir DISCOs suffer a shortfall of 489 billion rupees. Of the 737 billion rupees in billing among these five DISCOs, a shortfall of 489 billion rupees exists.
He stated that we have all the data available regarding which feeders are experiencing electricity theft and non-payment of bills. Action will be taken based on available data on electricity theft and non-payment.
According to the Energy Minister, two feeders in Shakargarh suffer a shortfall of 82% to 84%. In Shakargarh, both feeders have a 60 crore rupees shortfall. Muhammad Ali said that in order to control electricity theft, three steps will be taken. In areas where there is a 30% to 60% shortfall, consideration is being given to handing over management to the private sector.
He stated that first and foremost, we need to rectify the management of distribution companies. Changes will be made to the boards of directors of distribution companies, and management will also be replaced. The Energy Minister mentioned that a list has been prepared of officials involved in electricity theft, and those involved in electricity theft will be removed from their positions. Employees of distribution companies are often involved in electricity theft.
He said that electricity theft is taking place because employees of distribution companies are involved in it. In order to replace officials involved in electricity theft, a list has been sent to the Election Commission. Task forces are being formed at the provincial level to crack down on electricity theft.
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