ISLAMABAD, June 28: Electricity supply to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) head office was on Friday morning disconnected due to non-payment of dues amounting to Rs1.85 billion.
Disconnection of other CDA offices is scheduled in the next two days if the payments are not made.
The Islamabad Electricity Supply Company (Iesco) said it took the action after issuing several warnings.
The civic agency is the top electricity defaulter, but there are others in the row too who are less vulnerable to the wrath of Iesco such as the army which owes around Rs430 million to the electricity provider.
The cash-strapped CDA has no fiscal space to pay the power bills and, as a result, it prefers to sidetrack the issue in a bid to escape the reality.
“We have a dispute with Iesco over the exaggerated bills of streetlights. Besides, Iesco has to pay some amount for the utilisation of CDA land for various installations like transformers and poles,” said a CDA official.
On the other hand, a senior official of Iesco said all the issues had been settled but the CDA was still unwilling to clear the bills.
“The main problem is that they always try to divert things,” the Iesco official said. “They know we cannot cut off the power lines for tubewells or streetlights; therefore, they wait till we disconnect electricity to the administrative buildings, including the chairman office.”
The CDA head office has, however, high-powered generators; therefore, lack of electricity in the sizzling weather would not make a significant difference for the working of top bosses in the authority. And since the civic agency officers can also afford a large generator and its daily diesel cost, they seem less bothered to clear the dues once and for all.
The CDA is not alone in the long list of defaulting government departments, as other municipal bodies are in the line too.
The Chaklala Cantonment Board in Rawalpindi has to pay Rs221.42 million to the electricity supplier and the Rawal Town Rs127.07 million, Rawalpindi Cantonment Board Rs73.89 million. Other offices of the district government Rawalpindi owe Rs5.15 million, TMA Murree Rs20.41 million and TMA Jhelum Rs1.82 million.
Incidentally, the bill of Chaklala Cantonment and the TMA is high compared to the other municipal bodies because of the same reason as that with the CDA – streetlights.
And like the CDA, these bodies are confident that Iesco would not disconnect the streetlights.
The Garrison Engineering Services owes Rs70 million, MES Rawalpindi Rs359.60 million while the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) has to pay Rs36.48 million to Iesco.
But the electricity supplier is unable to take any stern action against these entities.
“The reason is clear. As a mater of fact, even loadshedding in such sensitive areas is either very less or negligible,” an Iesco official said.
Similarly, courts in Islamabad have to pay Rs18.31 million to the electricity supplier, Islamabad police Rs33.29 million, Punjab police Rs21.24 million and Adiala jail Rs14.33 million.
The other defaulters are Pakistan secretariat Rs8.38 million, DG special branch Rs1.27 million, Intelligence Bureau Rs2.32 million, NHA Rs1.39 million, cabinet secretariat Rs3.40 million, Public Works Department (PWD) Rs50.43 million, railway ministry Rs27.44 million, federal ministers’ official residents c/o PWD Rs3.79 million, FIA Rs1.34 million, immigration and passport Rs2.84 million, narcotics control board Rs5.49 million and FWO 2.94 million.
The list of government departments also contains the name of PTCL, which is currently managed by a private party. The PTCL owes Rs8.49 million to Iesco.
According to Iesco, its annual billing amounted to around Rs84 billion, out of which electricity worth Rs68 billion is consumed by the private sector, which has almost 100 per cent recovery.