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Power theft & fatwas

July 12, 2018


‘RECENTLY reports have appeared in the national media that a Senate panel has advised the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority to obtain a fatwa against electricity theft.

It sounds strange that a fatwa is being advised to eliminate power thefts. Then why limit this to electricity theft alone? We should solicit fatwas for all the ills that afflict our society, which make for a long list.

The responsibility of detection of power thefts lies with the respective district electricity supply companies (discos) who should disconnect the offenders’ power supply and proceed against them according to law.

It is surprising to note that discos do not have an in-house capacity to assess power losses, which reflects poorly on their competence and performance.

The technical and theft losses in various discos’ jurisdiction vary from 30 to 37 per cent which means a loss of billions of rupees of public money.

To add insult to injury, these losses are recovered from helpless consumers. The public should be told clearly about the quantum of technical and theft losses separately so they can best assess officials’ performance.

WAPDA was dissolved into many companies with the aim of improving better and efficient services. This objective has not been realised to date. The outsourcing of metering, billing and recovery of dues to a third party contractor has further complicated matters.

Let us stop copying other developed countries blindly. Otherwise, our power woes will further aggravate.

Engr Riaz Bhutta


Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018