Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

.

LAHORE: The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) has stopped ‘unnecessary’ adjustments on the complaints of wrong billing after it realised that the exercise only adds to line losses.

The company, the largest power-sector distribution entity in terms of revenue and load/consumption, says correction or adjustment will only be made if the complaints related to over-billing prove to be correct.

“We have stopped needless adjustments. However, the adjustments/correction of bills will continue if the complaints prove to be genuine. The company’s line losses in the last month have considerably reduced after taking this step,” a senior Lesco officer told Dawn.

The company’s line losses had increased from 12.6pc (July to December 2016) to 13.4pc in the corresponding period in 2017 after it, allegedly on the orders of power division, made large-scale bill adjustments against the previous years (2009 and onward) over-billing to people especially tubewell consumers of Kasur rural areas.

Later, the power division removed chief executive officers of Lesco, the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco), the Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) and the Sukkar Electric Power Company (Sepco) over the issue of increased line losses either due to previous years’ bill adjustments or reduction in the loadshedding hours on high-loss feeders and other administrative matters.

“Actually the adjustments against over-billing were made after a high-level committee approved to do so. It was a one-time exercise that badly affected the line losses’ graph of the company. So we have stopped such adjustments except those cases that are absolutely genuine,” the officer said.

Besides, he said, the company had also directed its entire field formations to take stern action against those consumers involved in electricity theft. “The performance of field formations (SDOs, line superintendents, supervisors and linemen etc) is also being monitored by special teams. And they are taking action against those officials involved in ignoring such practices,” he said.

Asked how the company was dealing with the cases where the officials are helpless to stop the theft due to a lack of police support or involvement of influential people, he said “the police chiefs of Lahore, Kasur, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura and Okara will be contacted by the senior company officials shortly in this regard.”

About the recovery of more than Rs2 billion from the public-sector defaulters, the officer said the company had given them 10 days. “We will surely disconnect their power supply soon after this deadline is over. But Lesco will be lenient with the hospitals,” he said.

Lesco, he said, had recently announced special incentives for those officials who would show good recovery percentage. Those who would recover bills from the defaulters would be given 5 to 20pc of the total recovered amount. “This campaign is in full swing these days and will continue till recovery of bills from all defaulters,” said the officer.

Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2018