LAHORE: Corruption in the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) continues haunting the company while its consumers are bearing the brunt of it in the face of the worst-ever inflation and other civic issues.
The Lesco board of directors (BoD) chairman has admitted that there are issues of corruption, mismanagement and poor customer service in the company and that that several inquiries against officers are underway these days.
“It is true that many issues — corruption, mismanagement, poor customer service etc — exist on the part of employees and the officials from the line staff (linemen, meter readers etc) to high ranking officers (SDOs, EXENs, superintending engineers etc) are responsible for the situation. We are also receiving several complaints from the consumers in the open courts we hold on a weekly basis,” Lesco BoD Chairman Hafiz Mian Nauman says while talking to Dawn.
“On these complaints, we are ordering inquiries against the officers/officials. We have terminated some officials in the light of the outcome of some inquires and you will see dismissal of many more in the near future too,” he reveals.
BoD chairman admits issues, hints at structural reforms
To a question, he says, he has no details of the exact number of officers facing inquiries at the moment or those terminated.
“But I tell you there are many who are facing various inquiries.”
Mr Nauman claims that the Lesco BoD is heading towards some structural reforms under which certain systems are set to be developed to plug the ways leading to corruption and other issues affecting the consumers.
“You will see various positive changes in Lesco to improve the service delivery and end corruption,” he asserts.
To another question, Mr Nauman says that in their complaints, the customers avoid naming the officials or officers against whom they register their complaints.
“I request such complainants to name the officers/officials in their complaints,” says the Lesco BoD chief.
It merits mentioning that for the last few years, Lesco has been passing through an unprecedented phase of worst service delivery, bad customer service, mismanagement, flawed field operations, corruption and other issues, bringing a bad name to the federal government and the parent department/ministry.
The situation has reached its peak while the offices from the SDO to the CEO and officials from linemen to line superintendents seem too lethargic to respond to complaints and resolve them, take stern action against the guilty officials and save the customers from trouble.
“We were served a huge inflated bill sometime ago. We contacted the SDO, EXEN and SE several times but none of them responded to phone calls. Finally, we visited their offices but the officers neither heard us properly nor resolved our issue,” deplores a consumer of Lesco Shalamar division.
He says he approached the local court that issued a stay order with a direction to Lesco officers concerned to make three instalments of the bill besides resolving the issue of inflated bill.
“Finally, we paid one of the three instalments and approached the SDO to restore our power connection. But he refused to do so, making a lame excuse. We also contacted other senior officials but to no avail,” he says, demanding action against corrupt officials.
Talking to Dawn, a source in the company admits that there were issues of extremely poor customer service, corruption, inflated billing etc in Lesco. He urges the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to take action about rising issues in the company.
“For this, Nepra can also order a special third party audit of the company,” the official suggests, requesting anonymity.
Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2023