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FIA crackdown on power thieves bearing fruit

Updated August 25, 2013

PESHAWAR, Aug 24: Anwar Khan had never thought in the last one decade that one day he would have to install power meter and pay bill for consuming electricity.

In fact, he’d a direct connection from the main electric supply lines passing by his house.

But the Federal Investigation Agency crackdown on power theft forced him lately into installing an electricity meter at his house and paying bill.

Mr Khan, a resident of Zangali area, told Dawn that he’d installed electricity meter to ‘save’ his honour.

“I have heard that FIA is imposing heavy fine on power thieves besides putting them behind bars,” he said.

Since FIA began conducting raids against power thieves in Peshawar city and rural areas, the people using electricity free of charge in connivance with Pesco officials are perturbed. Most of them have stopped illegal use of electricity.

The people in different parts of Peshawar, especially in Garhi Atta Mohammad, Dir Colony and Warsak Road, have voluntarily removed illegal power connections after being informed about the FIA raids through newspapers.

If the FIA raids continue for a long period or a separate wing is created within the agency for the purpose, electricity theft, which is very common, is likely to come to an end.

It is believed that overcoming electricity theft will not only save electricity for the energy-starved country but will also minimise power losses and thus, helping boost the economy and ensuring smooth electric supply to the people.

Anwar Khan said he had installed power meter fearing the FIA crackdown but would temper with it or remove it after the action was over.

He said he used to bribe the relevant Pesco men every month to keep using electricity without interruption and free of charge.

Amjad Hussain, a resident of Warsak Road, said two days ago, he saw a local inhabitant roll back electricity cable outside his house early in the morning but failed to know the reason.

“Later, I came to know that the man had taken a direct (illegal power) connection for operating air conditioner at his house,” he said.

According to the Pesco officials, the illegal users of electricity operate several air conditioners on their premises as they have to pay nothing for it.

They insist the unnecessary consumption of electricity overload electricity installations and damage transformers.

A senior Pesco official working at the Wazir Bagh subdivision told Dawn that after the start of the FIA raids, dozens of people had applied for installation of power meters over the last few days.

He said the earlier Pesco requests to the people for the same had fallen on deaf ears.

The official said illegal users of electricity were not afraid of Pesco as it had always been lenient towards them.

“Only strict action could end power theft,” he said.

Another Pesco official said FIA raids were bearing fruit and were underway without discrimination.

He said though he was a Pesco official, the FIA team raided his house and took away the electricity cable used for illegal power connection.