ISLAMABAD: The power sector has achieved in its revenues a record increase of over Rs121 billion while curtailing line losses worth Rs16bn, or 1.4 per cent.
According to a report released by the power division, the performance of the power sector has improved in various areas, especially after the launch of an anti-power theft campaign in October last year, including the introduction of smart meters and record distribution of 23,049MW of electricity due to improvement in the transmission network.
The report said that the present government had launched a number of initiatives to reform the sector, besides making it self-sustaining. The initiatives include both administrative and technical measures pertaining to system augmentation and upgradation.
The main emphasis of these steps is to make electricity in the country affordable and available to all. Under the campaign to curb electricity theft, Rs1,368 million was recovered from 5,318 power thieves after registering 36,000 FIRs against them.
Drive against electricity theft launched in October reduces line losses by Rs16bn
The power division has given a target to the distribution companies (Discos) to recover Rs8,000m from old receivables while freezing the receivable figures as they stood on Oct 31 last year.
The reduction in line losses has also lessened the burden on the distribution system due to removal of illegal connections. A project of Advanced Metering Infrastructure is being launched in the Lahore Electric Supply Company and Islamabad Electric Supply Company to overcome the problems of line losses and theft for which the Asian Development Bank has committed to provide $400m.
It is now ready for execution. The Aerial Bundled Cable is another project to control and pre-empt illegal connections through direct hooking, thereby controlling the menace of kundas and reducing line losses in high-loss areas. The Peshawar Electric Supply Company and Sukkur Electric Supply Company have already started installation of these cables as and where they clear feeders in their anti-theft campaign.
The power division has drafted the Renewable Energy Policy, 2019, and circulated it to all stakeholders for their input. The policy will soon be brought before the cabinet for approval. Accordingly, it has been envisioned that by the year 2025 the share of renewable energy in the energy mix will be increased to 20 per cent from the existing 4pc and by 2030 it will be increased to 30pc.
Tariff rationalisation measures have helped in reducing the rising trend in circular debt. Arrangement of Rs200bn from Islamic Sukuk has also helped in paying power sector dues and replacing expensive debt.
The power division has chalked out a comprehensive plan to arrest the growth in circular debt. Accordingly, after June 2019 the growth is to be reduced from Rs38bn to Rs26bn per month. By June next year the growth will be brought to Rs8bn per month, while by December 2020 it will be brought to zero.
The power division has been actively engaged with different working groups of friendly countries, especially China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Central Asian Republics, for exploring avenues of investment in the power sector.
Due to improved recovery and effective anti-theft campaign, the number of feeders where loadshedding due to losses is conducted has decreased significantly. Even during peak summer where historically the losses were on the higher side and many feeders would come out of categories where zero loadshedding is implemented, this year due to continued watch and efforts the number has been increasing.
The anti-corruption and anti-theft drive has shown positive effects on recovery of outstanding dues as well. It has motivated the consumers to pay the bills in time. Discos’ recovery has shown an improvement of 1pc since the launch of the campaign.
Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2019