Govt announces crackdown against electricity thieves

Govt announces crackdown against electricity thieves

Islamabad (Web Desk): The federal government on Wednesday announced to launch a crackdown on electricity theft across the country.

Addressing a news conference flanked by Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi, Minister for Power and Energy Muhammad Ali said there were 10 distribution companies in Pakistan facing a total loss of Rs589 billion.

"Power theft and nonpayment of electricity bills are the major causes of this huge loss," the minister said.

He said that the government has planned a comprehensive three-pronged strategy to deal with the issue of power theft.

Under this strategy, technology interventions will be made in the areas where electricity theft is 15 to 30%. Secondly, involvement of private sector will be ensure in the management where electricity theft is from 30 to 60% while enforcement will be ensured in the areas where power theft is more than 60%," the minister added.

Giving details about the steps to be taken to stop power theft, Muhammad Ali said there was dire need of introducing reforms in the energy sector.

He said the government is reviewing the performance of the board of directors of power distribution companies and will bring change in their management.

"Reshuffling of the officials involved in electricity theft will be made and lists of such officials have already been finalized and dispatched to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for implementation," the minister said.

Ali said that the government was establishing a task force at provincial level in consultation with the provinces to monitor performance of distribution companies.

"Similarly, the government is also working on legislation side and brining a draft law of Electricity Theft Control Act to check power theft," he said.

Replying to a question, the minister said the government is deliberating on number of steps including privatization and handing over power sector to the provinces to uplift its performance.

To another query, he said that work was also underway on the issue of free units for the employees of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and the prime minister had also issued directives in this regard.

Answering a question, the energy minister said that lists of distribution companies involved in power theft had been prepared with consultations of the respective chief executives.

Speaking on this occasion, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi said not a single minister in the interim setup was using electricity free of cost.

"The interim setup will not take any extra-constitutional step," Solangi said.

It is pertinent to mention that Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Monday directed immediate action against those involved in power theft and asked the relevant authorities to submit reports in this regard on a daily basis.