CEOs of four underperforming Discos sacked

02 Feb 2018

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An employee works on Rohri grid station in this file photo. The CEOs of four Discos have been removed due to their failure in meeting targets to check electricity theft, reduce line losses and improve revenue collection.
An employee works on Rohri grid station in this file photo. The CEOs of four Discos have been removed due to their failure in meeting targets to check electricity theft, reduce line losses and improve revenue collection.

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday removed chief executive officers (CEOs) of four distribution companies for their inefficiency and inability to contain theft and revenue losses.

Minister for Power Division Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari said the board of directors of four Discos had been asked to start the process for the appointment of new CEOs under the Corporate Gover­nance Rules. Until then, the Power Division has assigned the positions of acting CEOs to senior officers.

Mr Leghari said the officers were removed because they failed to deliver on targets given to them which included controlling electricity theft, reducing lines losses and improving revenue collection.

In overall terms, he said, the government suffered a loss of Rs40 billion in October-December 2017 this year compared to Rs21.7bn of same period last year, showing an additional loss of Rs18bn.

Mr Leghari reminded that the government announced zero power cuts on more than 5,000 feeders in the country in November 2017. The government had also promised that loadshedding would be applied only to feeders having very high losses and theft. The outcome would be examined after few months and increase or decrease in the duration for power cuts would be decided accordingly.

The minister said the government made concerted efforts over the last three months to provide maximum electricity to consumers to ensure that benefits of additional power generation capacity reach to all and was able to overcome the demand and supply gap.

Now that surplus electricity was available, he said, it was also necessary to maximise revenue collection and hence the performance of the managements were also reviewed.

The CEOs removed included Lahore Electric Supply Company’s (Lesco) Wajid Ali Kazmi, Peshawar Electric Supply Company’s (Pesco) Shabbir Ahmad Gilani, Sukkur Electric Supply Company’s (Sepco) Abdul Lateef Anjum, and Quetta Electric Supply Company’s (Qesco) Rehmatullah Baloch.

Giving details, Mr Leghari said a total of 23.15bn units were produced in October-December 2017 compared to 21.56bn units of same period in 2016, showing additional power supply of 2.12bn of second quarter this fiscal year.

On the other hand, he said the total loss because of additional units in December 2017 amounted to Rs20.22bn compared to Rs7.64bn of same month a year before, showing a huge increase of Rs12.58bn.

He said all distribution companies had been given targets for mobile meter reading, accurate meter reading and loss reduction, etc and it was decided to take action against non-performers.

Besides the removal of CEOs of Peshawar, Lahore, Sukkur and Quetta companies, officers were also being taken to task in companies where losses have gone up.

He said Zakaullah Gundapur, who was currently working as a CEO Tribal Electric Supply Company (Tesco) was appointed as CEO Pesco, Attaullah Bhutta (chief engineer) was placed as CEO Qesco, Mujahid Pervez Chattha (Chief Engineer) was appointed as CEO Lesco and Saeed Ahmad was appointed CEO Sepco. Amjad Khan currently working as General Manager Tesco was elevated to as CEO Tesco.

An official said the four Discos had failed to achieve the target of picture-based meter reading, acquiring the numbers of customers and transparency in meter reading.

The Power Division had already issued show cause notices for maintaining silence and ignorance, whether by omission or weak action that helped facilitate perpetrator of such huge losses to public exchequer. As such they were found involved in offences as envisaged in Section 39 of the Electricity Act 1910 that led to aggregate transmission and distribution (AT&D) losses.

It was noted that Mepco, Iesco and Fesco were the top three Discos with more than 90 per cent consumer mobile numbers in their database in December 2017 while performance of Hesco and Sepco was not encouraging with less than 24 consumer mobile numbers acquired till end December 2017. Pesco and Qesco were the worst since both could not acquire the mobile numbers of even 2pc of their total consumers.

Fesco was found best among all Discos regarding no delay in implementation of its billing schedule closely followed by Mepco. Pesco and Qesco were the worst with maximum delays of 11 days and 7 days in one of their batches respectively.

In terms of accuracy of meter reading, Fesco and Mepco were the best with mistakes of only 0.96pc and 5.94pc respectively; followed by Gepco and Hesco. Worst performers were Pesco and Lesco with mistakes as high as 29.42pc and 26.6pc respectively.

Performance of the Discos as far as aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses are concerned was very serious and alarming. Worst performers on the basis of financial loss calculated by PITC through AT&C loss for the month of Dec 2017 were Pesco and Qesco among all Discos.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2018