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LAHORE: Water and power ministry has directed the power distribution companies (Discos) to bring all the industrial and tube-well consumers under mobile imaging meter reading regime by December this year.

The meter reading through mobile imaging introduced already for all domestic and commercial consumers has helped Discos a lot in reducing the line losses as well as reducing the public complaints related to wrong reading etc.

At present the Discos have over 25 million domestic, commercial, industrial and tube-well (agricultural) consumers across the country (except Karachi).

Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) stands on top with 4.2 million consumers, followed by Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) with 3.5m, Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) 2.5m and Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) and Gujranwala Electric Supply Company (Gepco) have 2.3m to 2.4m consumers each in Punjab.

Similarly, Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) deals with 2.5m consumers, followed by Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) with 2.3m to 2.5m consumers. Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) has below 2m consumers, while Sukkar Electric Power Company (Sepco), considered to be the smallest, with 700,000 to 800,000 consumers.

Officials say that Discos operating in Punjab (Lesco, Mepco, Fesco, Gepco and Iesco) have almost completed the task of bringing all the domestic and commercial consumers, which are around 95 per cent of the total consumers, under the mobile reading regime.

But the Discos in other provinces (Hesco, Sepco, Pesco, Qesco) are yet to complete shifting of all of their consumers to mobile meter reading, as their percentage ranges between 70 to 80.

“In an important performance review meeting held at the ministry of water and power and presided over by the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) managing director, the Discos have been asked to start bringing all their industrial and tube-well consumers under the mobile reading regime by December, this year,” says a senior official privy to the meeting held on Tuesday.

Talking to Dawn, the official said out of 4.2 million consumers of the country’s biggest Disco — Lesco — 200,000 (0.2m) were industrial and tube-well connection holders. And these 0.2m consumers include 60,000 tube-well owners.

The official said that during the meeting, it was revealed that the line losses of a majority of Discos decreased. “Except Fesco and Iesco, line losses of all Discos reduced. The reason behind the increase in Fesco and Iesco line losses (0.9 and 1.5 per cent, respectively) as compared to last year is not the officials’ negligence but the billing cycle. Hopefully by end of this month, the percentage of line losses in Fesco and Iesco will also reduce,” the official said.

He said the Lesco line losses decreased to 16pc from 17.6pc due to various reforms.

He said the Lesco was facing losses both because of technical reasons and power theft. The officials, he said, were engaged in resolving the technical issues but they were helpless in controlling the power theft, particularly in the areas under around 60 high-loss feeders (where 30pc to over 50pc theft is committed). The areas where these feeders operated included Batapur, Jaranawala Road, Raja Jang (Kasur), Renala Khurd, Chunian, Alabad, Mandi Faizabad, Baseerpur, Havaili Lakha etc, he added.

About various system constraints in Discos and NTDC, the official said efforts were being made to get rid of the situation. “The state minister for water and power Abid Sher Ali has also called a special meeting of the heads of Discos, NTDC and Pepco on Monday in this regard,” he added.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2017