Govt’s power dues recovery drive moving at a snail’s pace

Only Rs3b out of total Rs589b dues recovered in first nine days of campaign

ISLAMABAD  -  Moving at a snail’s pace, the government has recovered only Rs3 billion in the ongo­ing drive against electricity theft/recoveries, as it seems hesitant to move against big defaulters/power thieves or high officials of the Power Di­vision and Discos.

“In the last two days, collect­ed more than Rs2 billion com­pared with one billion rupees in the first 8 days of the cam­paign,” said Secretary Power Division Rashid Langryal in his tweet yesterday. 

The secretary also asked for critical feedback saying that “it helps us adjust our imple­mentation strategy.”

The first feedback came from the Power Division, where a source told The Nation that with the existing setup in the Power Division and the head­quarters of power distribution companies (Discos), the success of the ongoing drive against thefts and recoveries seems doubtful. There­fore, massive reshuffle is required in the Power Division and Discos for successful anti-theft and recov­eries drive, the source added. Of the total Rs 589 billion dues, in the first nine days of the anti-theft/recover­ies drive only Rs 3 billion have been recovered so far. The ratio of recov­ery is slow as compared to the vol­ume of dues and thefts. In 2022-23, Discos had incurred losses of over Rs 838 billion which include Rs 533.52 billion of transmission and distribu­tion losses on account of losses/theft and approximately Rs 305 billion on account of under recoveries.

The reason for the slow pace of the drive is that the government has so far targeted only small culprits and field level employees of the Discos. By moving against the field staff of Dis­cos, the impression is being given that they are the main reason for the huge theft and under recoveries in the pow­er sector, and the management had no role in it. Similarly, the same manage­ment are at the driving seat of the on­going anti-theft/recoveries campaign of the interim government, under whose nose rampant corruption, inef­ficiency, and thefts were taking place.

The government has removed only officials of grade 19 and below of Dis­cos, for their alleged involvement in thefts or due to inefficiency.

So far only one high official of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) lev­el has been removed from his post, while the BoDs of Discos and high of­ficials in the Power Division are still intact. CEO Peshawar Electric Pow­er Regulatory Authority (PESCO) was removed last week, allegedly for his failure to move against the pow­er defaulters. However, the source said that the removal of the CEO Pesco was planned earlier and has been implemented on the pretext of poor performance. The CEO of Trib­al Electric Supply Company (Tesco) has been handed over the charge of Pesco. Interestingly, none of the offi­cials of the Power Division or Board of Directors (BoD) of the power dis­tribution companies has been reshuf­fled during the ongoing drive against anti-theft and recoveries. Secre­tary Power Division Rashid Langri­yal, who is leading the current drive, is serving in the Power Division for the last about one and a half years, the source said and added that this is true regarding majority of the of­ficers sitting in Power Division and Discos. The existing setup of top man­agement both in the Ministry of Ener­gy and Discos have played the role of silent spectator, if not accomplice, by turning a blind eye to the destruction of the power sector, the source said.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt