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LAHORE: Heads of power distribution companies (Discos) are in a fix due to differences between two ministers over loadshedding schedule.

“Sharp differences prevail between Federal Minister Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari and State Minister Abid Sher Ali. Mr Leghari wants implementation of the current loadshedding schedule equally in rural and urban areas keeping in view the ratio of losses on 11kV feeders while Mr Ali wants execution of the old schedule that gives more relief to urban areas,” an official source in the Ministry of Energy (power division) told Dawn.

At present the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), a subsidiary of the power division, is directly monitoring the issues of all Discos related to loadshedding /management schedule, high loss feeders etc. The Discos, under a policy of the power division, continue to observe loadshedding for two to six hours on feeders facing 10 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40 per cent of technical and commercial losses.

“Some days ago, the CEO of one of the major Discos followed orders of Abid Sher Ali over observance of the old load management schedule that gives maximum relief to the urban centres. When it came to the knowledge of Mr Leghari, he snubbed the CEO with a direction to follow his orders since he is the federal minister (minister-incharge) of the power division,” the official said while quoting a recent incident.

He said Mr Ali was also of the view that the Pepco should empower CEOs to prepare and implement load management schedule on their own keeping in view the demand and supply and needs of the urban and rural population.

He (Abid) is also of the view that issuance of charge-sheets to the CEOs by Pepco on less important issues is deteriorating the situation, as they continue to exert pressure on their subordinates by calling their explanations, issuing show cause notices etc. Since the summer has started, the most important matter is to empower the CEOs in taking such decisions and not to punish them unnecessarily. “It is not the time to issue directions that cannot be followed by the CEOs dealing with over 25 million consumers with several problems/constraints in power distribution system, IT and software,” he added.

The ministry has also called a meeting of all CEOs for Tuesday (today), he said.

Both the ministers were not available for comments despite calls and text messages by this reporter.

Published in Dawn, Aprill 17th, 2018