CHINIOT: Over 50,000 new electricity consumers are awaiting new connections and power supply for the last five months as the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) failed to procure electricity meters for them on time.

According to a notification, dated 28-01-2018, issued by the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), all the distribution companies (Discos) are bound to provide electricity connections to the category-I consumers seeking up to 15 kilowatt load within 30 days, to category-II consumers seeking 16-70 kilowatt within 44 days and category-III connections seeking load of 71-500 kilowatt within 73 days. However, the shortage of electricity meters has left thousands of new consumers without electricity in the areas of Fesco.

Meters shortage behind the delay in provision of utility

Dawn has learnt that the undue delay in the procurement process of electricity meters has caused the delay. As a result, 50,000 new applicants of new connections who have paid the demand notice amount months back are waiting for provision of electricity since July 2021.

Due to the delay, on the one hand, Fesco is deprived of not only millions of rupees it can earn from new connections while on the other hand, commercial and industrial units are being stopped from starting new businesses and expanding their work.

Dildar Hussain, a local furniture trader, says that he has been waiting for a connection for his new furniture factory for months but in vain and he has been told that there are no electricity meters.

Fateh Sher Khokhar, the president of the district bar association, has demanded the Ministry of Water and Power and National Electric Power Authority (Nepra) take notice of the situation and direct Fesco to expedite the new connections process or the people awaiting connections will exercise their legal rights through courts.

Sheikh Tahir, public relations officer (PRO) at Fesco headquarters, says the company is procuring new electricity meters, wires and other accessories for new meters according to the rules and a transparent process. It had called for tenders some months ago but the local electricity meter manufacturers formed cartels in bidding process and provided exorbitant rates, which were not acceptable by Fesco, he adds.

The tenders, he continues, were given again and after completion of procedural formalities, the tenders were awarded to a private firm, which provided Fesco with the first tranche of some 7,000 meters and the mid-January, it will be provide 70,000 meters, which will be sufficient to clear the backlog.

Mr Tahir has confirmed that about 50,000 electricity connections are pending, saying that Fesco has awarded tenders for procurement of 700,000 meters, which will be sufficient for all new connections in the near future.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2021

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