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Power theft costs Rs100bn

November 03, 2013
— File Photo
— File Photo

ISLAMABAD, Nov 2: Electricity theft from the distribution system soared over eight per cent in the past few years, according to an official document. This is the highest rate of power theft in the region, which translates into an annual loss of about Rs100 billion.

The document reveals that even these figures are not reliable because of non-availability of meters at entry and exit points of distribution companies.

According to an expert, it is difficult to segregate real excess distribution, technical losses and theft.

In the absence of meters, another way to ascertain the theft is to carry out a technical audit of all distribution networks, but the audit has not been carried out because of opposition by the ‘vested interest’, he says.

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) allows 2.5pc transmission losses and up to 10pc distribution losses. But these 12.5pc losses turned out to be 23pc in 2013. Transmission and distribution losses remained 16.95pc in Bangladesh and 14.6pc in Sri Lanka in 2009, and 6.7pc in China and 3.8pc in Malaysia in 2011.

While determining tariffs for the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) and distribution companies, Nepra incorporates these losses as a pass-through to end-users.

The NTDC has invited tenders for installing meters at the points to the National Power Control Centre and all distribution companies under a secured metering system project, but evaluation of bids has been delayed.

Another project sponsored by the USAID for installation of 6,000 meters was also delayed. It was scheduled to be commissioned in August this year.