ISLAMABAD: If uninterrupted electricity is supplied to areas with 80pc losses it will not only increase the burden on bill paying consumers but will also force the government to take other steps such as increasing the general sales tax, petroleum prices and mobile phone call charges to compensate for the losses.
This was stated by Ministry of Energy (Power Division) Joint Secretary Musaddiq Ahmed Khan while briefing the Senate Functional Committee on Problems of Less-Developed Areas on Friday.
He stated this when the members of the committee at a meeting chaired by Mohammad Usman Kakar criticised the distribution companies for loadshedding of up to 20 hours in less-developed areas and suggested that uninterrupted electricity should be provided across the country.
If defaulters are provided electricity, burden on paying consumers will increase, says official
Mr Khan said there were two issues. The transmission lines were not capable to take the load and there were 80pc losses in most of the areas.
“How electricity can be provided to areas where consumers do not pay bills. The tribal areas received 220 MW electricity but losses are 80pc there. We can imagine how much the losses will be if around 700MW is provided to these areas, and who will pay the losses,” he asked.
“Same is the case in Balochistan. If the outstanding dues are not recovered the government will suffer. If uninterrupted electricity is provided across the country the government will have no option but to increase prices of electricity due to which the consumers who are paying bills will suffer. Similarly, prices of petroleum products, GST and tax on phone calls will have to be increased,” he said.
Earlier, Tribal Electric Supply Company Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mian Hamid said four to 20 hours loadshedding was being carried out in the areas as there were overall 80pc losses.
In reply to a question, he said there were 2,200 villages in the tribal areas which did not have electricity at all. An amount of Rs9 billion are required to connect these villages with the National Transmission Dispatch Company.
Quetta Electric Supply Company CEO Attaullah Bhutta also said there were 80pc losses in most of the areas due to which even salaries of the power company employees could not be paid. On the other hand, the provincial government does not pay the dues.
“There are around 15,000 illegal tubewells in the province. Moreover, a number of tribes have installed their own transformers and are stealing electricity. We cannot take action against them and the government also does not cooperate with us.
“I have videos showing people beating my staff even in front of the levies. We have no option but to disconnect the electricity as there is 80pc loss in most feeders,” he said.
Hyderabad Electric Supply Company CEO Abdul Sattar Memon said there were 40pc losses in the limits of the company as it was difficult to recover bills from some areas.
However, the chairman of the committee said it was the right of every citizen to get electricity.
“People are dying because of lack of electricity in Karachi. They are not getting electricity even at Iftar and Sehri.
“It is our obligation to provide electricity to every person. However, strict action should be taken against those who are not paying the bills,” he said.
The committee also discussed the prospects of having more wind and solar energy generation units to overcome the energy deficit in the country.
Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2018