ISLAMABAD: The federal government decided on Thursday to immediately provide 400,000 applicants with electricity connections and make energy data public on a daily basis to meet a longstanding demand of the provinces.
The decisions were taken at a series of meetings presided over by Federal Minister for Power Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari with a delegation of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and various power companies.
The provinces have been demanding real-time sharing of electricity generation and supply data to ensure a transparent calculation of net hydel profit (NHP), allocation of electricity quota to various distribution companies and actual utilisation of power in the provinces.
Centre decides to make public real-time energy data
The issue had repeatedly been taken up at the level of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and Inter-Provincial Coordination Committee (IPCC) where the Ministry of Energy was directed to work out modalities in consultation with the provinces for data sharing.
On Thursday, the federal and KP governments exchanged a set of non-papers on NHP calculations based on various decisions of the CCI and AGN Kazi formula, but could not reach a conclusion. They, however, agreed to meet again shortly with their formal positions on NHP.
On the issue of data sharing, the Power Division that has been reluctant to ensure real-time electricity flow data agreed to make public the demand, quota allocation, supply and consumption data through the website of a subordinate company.
The power minister told the KP delegation that instead of providing data in a secret manner, key information should be put on the display for the benefit of all and sundry to ensure maximum transparency.
Electricity generation and distribution data will be displayed on the website of Power Information Technology Company (www.pitc.com.pk) to ensure maximum transparency.
An official statement said Mr Leghari also sought help from the KP energy minister to curb power theft in different areas of the province. He said the centre has already asked Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) to incentivise its staff deputed on high-loss feeders to ensure uninterrupted power supply to maximum areas.
He said the government was also considering extending similar incentives to law enforcement agencies in the provinces to improve recovery and contain power theft.
He said power generation was now enough to meet maximum demand for electricity. He added that there was no shortage of electricity at present.
KP Energy Minister Atif Khan said areas where power theft was rampant and losses were high could not be compared with low-loss areas. Hence, loadshedding could not be equal, according to a statement issued by the Power Division. He assured the federal minister to provide maximum assistance to Pesco in its operation against power theft.
In a related meeting, the Power Division also directed all distribution companies to clear the backlog of pending electricity connections within one month so that a fresh procedure for new connections could be adopted. It was reported that 400,000 electricity connection applications were currently pending.
The Power Division asked Discos to take immediate steps to provide energy meters to consumers. Special meetings of the boards of directors should be called to expedite the procurement of material essential for new connections as per the existing procedure.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2017