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LAHORE: The Ministry of Energy (Power Division) has directed the top officials of major power distribution companies (Discos) to also consider option of strengthening the human resource and administrative or financial management of the companies instead of bifurcating them.

The ministry has also desired that the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the Discos must prepare two proposals (one for strengthening and another on bifurcation) and place them before their board of directors (BoDs) for deliberation and taking a final decision in this regard, according to a senior official.

The government had initially decided last year to bifurcate three major Discos — Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco), Lahore Electricity Supply Company (Lesco) and Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco). Later, two more Discos — Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) and Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) – were also added to the bifurcation plan reportedly in November 2017.

“We have made two proposals—one based on the bifurcation and the second on improving strength or capacity building of our company. Soon we will place these proposals before our BoD for deliberation and taking a final decision on which option to take,” a senior official of one of major Discos told Dawn on Monday.

Ministry wants companies to mull improving human resource, management

At present, all the Discos have over 25m domestic, commercial, industrial and tube well (agricultural) consumers across the country (except Karachi). Mepco is considered the biggest Disco with 5.7m consumers in a vast area from Sahiwal to Rahim Yar Khan. Lesco too stands on top in terms of revenue and load with 4.3m consumers. Pesco covers the whole Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with around 3.2m consumers while Qesco covers the whole Balochistan with about 2m consumers. The Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) has 2.5m power users while Gepco and Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) have about 2.4m consumers each.

In Sindh, Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) is the biggest Disco with 2.3m to 2.5m consumers, followed by the Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) that has electricity users ranged between 700,000 and 800,000 while Tribal Area Electric Supply Company (Tesco) is the smallest entity with only 300,000 consumers or so.

The official said that under the initial plan, the ministry had decided to bifurcate Pesco alone but later more Discos like Mepco, Lesco, Qesco and Gepco were also added to it.

“After taking over the charge of Federal Minister (Power Division), Sardar Awais Leghari took some steps, such as formation of new BoDs and reviewing performance of the CEOs under key performance indicators (KPIs). When Discos bifurcation plan was discussed with him, he (the minister) told the senior officials of the ministry to also look into other options instead of the bifurcation alone,” the official explained.

He said the proposal related to improving Discos’ strength consisted of the existing number of staff members posted in the field offices (subdivisions), shortage/more officials requirement, number of consumers in each sub-division, especially those dealing with more than 30,000 consumers and number of divisions dealing with five or more sub-divisions, creation of new sub-divisions, divisions or circles and other information and solutions, method for improving governance (reducing consumers complaints and line losses, improve recovery etc). Similarly, the other proposal contains information related to bifurcation of Discos, division of service area, staff, grids, lines, resources etc.

“Let’s see what the BoDs do as we are ready to face any development whether with under certain improved strength strategy or the bifurcation plan,” the official concluded.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2018