Lesco detects 330 cases of power theft in ‘massive operation’

Published September 8, 2023
A Lesco staffer installs a new transformer near Ferozpur Road in Lahore. — APP/File
A Lesco staffer installs a new transformer near Ferozpur Road in Lahore. — APP/File

LAHORE: The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) has launched a mega operation in the Punjab capital and adjoining districts, detecting a ‘massive power theft’ by many people, including a former member of the National Assembly and two district council chairmen.

The Lesco teams also charged the power thieves over 1.37 million units worth Rs47.4 million in the last 24 hours, Dawn has learnt.

“We have constituted 238 teams at sub-divisional, divisional and circle levels who have launched operations in Lahore and other service areas of the company, including Kasur, Okara, Sheikhupura and Nankana Sahib,” Lesco Chief Executive Officer Shahid Haider told Dawn on Thursday.

“In the last 24 hours, we have detected 330 cases of power theft. FIRs in most of the cases have been registered by various police stations. Over 1.37 million units worth Rs47.4m were charged,” he said, adding that 11 people were also arrested for power theft. He said all 330 connections had been disconnected.

Over 1.37m units worth Rs47.4m charged, 11 arrested

According to the company management, former MNA Mehr Saeed Zafar Padhiar was charged 8,620 units worth Rs250,000, followed by an ex-chairman of district council, Rana Ayub, who was charged 1,096 units worth Rs69,457.

Former councillor Nazar Hussain was also found involved in power theft, as the Lesco team charged him with 12,029 units worth Rs264,638. District council former vice chairman Allah Tawakal was charged 5,156 units worth Rs268,112, local politician Tariq Javaid 4,753 units worth Rs205,247, ex-councillor Rana Ijaz 8,144 units worth Rs325,750, cable operator Sajjad Ahmad 2,500 units worth Rs125,000, Green Cap Housing Schemes 71,943 units worth over Rs3.59 million.

“We have also prepared lists of all potentially critical areas notorious for power theft in Lahore and other districts. These include various villages, muhallas etc. The operations will soon be carried in all such areas along with police and respective officers of the local administration,” CEO Haider said, adding the chief secretary, commissioner, deputy commissioners and senior Lesco officials are closely monitoring the operations.

Talking about action against the Lesco officials involved in power theft, he said, there was zero tolerance on this issue.

“Recently, we have suspended three superintending engineers (SEs /circle heads) from service besides removing an Executive Engineer (EXEN) and SDO from service for poor performance,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, some armed persons in Chunian (Kasur) thrashed a Lesco team for disconnecting the power supply over detection of power theft.

According to reports, a Lesco team reportedly detected electricity theft in Chunian tehsil and later cut the power supply. On this, the armed persons injured the officials and held them hostage for some time.

A case has also been registered.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2023

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