ISLAMABAD: The net power sector receivables have increased by about 27 per cent over the last 18 months as overall recoveries struggled to make any significant impact despite a full focus of the authorities and the lending agencies to address power sector challenges.
According to a detailed report finalised by the Power Division, the net receivables of all the distribution companies (Discos) increased to Rs1.037 trillion as of Dec 31, 2019 from Rs817.5 billion on June 2018, showing an increase of 27pc or about Rs220bn. Total private sector receivables during the period also increased by 24pc to Rs830bn from Rs670bn, an increase of Rs160bn.
The data showed that receivables increased by 137pc from the federal government that was driving the power sector efficiency and recovery drive. This was the highest increase in receivables from any sector. The data showed that Discos’ receivables from the federal government stood at Rs7.2bn as of June 30, 2018 but increased to Rs17.1bn by end of December 2019.
The power sector receivables from the AJK government also increased by 28pc to Rs127bn by end-December 2019 when compared to Rs99bn at end-June 2018. Likewise, a 54pc increase was witnessed in the receivables from the provincial governments to Rs62.3bn last month when compared to Rs40.4bn in June 2018.
Bills of federal government drive largest increase
As such, the receivables from entire public sector consumers increased by almost 41pc to Rs206.2bn as of Dec 31, 2019 when compared to Rs146.84bn in June 2018. As if that was not enough, the receivables on account of government subsidies also increased by 25pc to Rs121.5bn from Rs98bn. The receivables from running defaulters also increased by about 30pc to Rs525bn when compared to Rs405bn 18 months ago.
On the other hand, the total recoveries against total billing during July-December 2019 declined by almost 1pc when compared with same period last year. The data showed total recoveries amounted 92.49pc in July-December 2019 against 93.47pc of same period 2018. The recovery against billing of seven out of 10 Discos dropped during the first half of the current year. Only Gujranwala, Islamabad and Peshawar electric power companies showed improvement. An amount of about Rs76bn against total billing of Rs923bn could not be recovered during the last first half of the current year. Total bill collection during this period amounted to Rs847bn.
Total billing for July-December 2019 increased by almost 24pc to Rs923bn when compared to Rs744bn of same period of previous year. On the other hand, total collection during July-December 2019 amounted to Rs847bn when compared to Rs677bn of same period last fiscal year, an increase of 25pc.
In absolute numbers, the amount of billing increased by about Rs178bn in first half of the current year but collections increased by about Rs170bn.
The power sector is reported to have replaced about 1.122 million defective electricity meters during 1HFY20 including 72,300 three-phase meters.
Aggregate technical and commercial (ATC) losses of the power sector declined by about 1.13pps to 23.23pc in 1HFY20 when compared to 24.36pc of the same period last fiscal. The ATC losses in the private sector, on the other hand, increased by 0.39pps to 22.68pc in first half of 2019-20 as against 22.29pc of same period last year.
Transmission losses in first six months of the current fiscal year slightly came down to 1.5pc from 1.79pc a year ago. Technical and distribution losses also dropped by almost 2.13 percentage points to 16.39pc in July-December 2019 when compared to 18.52pc a year ago.
The data also revealed a continuous increase in the amount of receivables from running defaulters. The amount stood at Rs477bn at the end of June 2019 but went up by about Rs48bn to Rs525bn by end December 2019. This had stood at Rs405bn as of June 2018.
The Power Division reported registration of about 56,000 FIRs against consumers during its anti-theft drive between Oct 13, 2018 and Jan 22, 2020 involving detection bills worth Rs3.96bn of which about Rs2.7bn were actually recovered, with a success rate of 68pc.
A total of about 344,000 applications were reported pending as of Dec 31, 2019 including 182,000 fully compliant with the requirements and ripe for connections.
Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2020