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ISLAMABAD: Power consumers are paying a heavy price for the negligence of distribution companies as the line losses for the last one year reached Rs213 billion.

Giving a presentation to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, the managing director of the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) disclosed that technical issues as well as electricity theft are the main reasons for line losses, though he stressed the system suffered more from technial issues rather than theft.

The committee expressed surprise over these revelations as majority of the members thought that it was electricity theft alone that contributes to the line losses.

PAC member Sheikh Rohale Asghar said that the line losses were growing because of the negligence of distribution companies, but the consumers had to pay extra amount for these losses due to technical issues as well as electricity theft.

Pepco officials informed the meeting that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) had set a threshold of 16.5 per cent line losses whereas at present the system was suffering 17.6pc losses.

As per Pepco’s statistics, there are 26.2 million electricity consumers in the country and half of them are domestic while rest are commercial, industrial and agriculture consumers.

It said that the distribution network comprises 14 grid stations of 500 (Kilovolt), 39 of 220kV, 656 of 132kV and 104 of 66kV.

PAC chairman Khursheed Shah suggested that the power distribution companies should abolish 66 KV grid stations as these were inefficient and contributing to the line losses.

As per the statistics, Sukkur which is the constituency of Mr Shah is suffering more line losses than other areas. The line losses of the Sukkur Electric Supply Company are 37.9pc, followed by 32.6pc of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company and 30.6pc of the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company. Other distribution networks suffered line losses between 10pc and 16pc.

Mr Shah said there was an impression that the power theft was the only reason for line losses, but it had emerged that the poor transmission networks and other technical issues were the causes of such a huge loss. “It is the negligence of distribution companies then why are consumers are penalised to recover billions of rupees in terms of line losses?”

The committee was of the view that the ministry of energy should evolve a mechanism to reduce extra burden on the consumers.

The PAC asked the ministry to arrange a detailed presentation on the electricity theft of domestic consumers in the next meeting.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2018