BAHAWALNAGAR: The Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) during the first week of the campaign registered 106 cases and recovered Rs1.4 million fine out of total Rs6.9m from more than 100 electricity thieves across the district with the collaboration of the district police.
A report issued by the Bahawalnagar Mepco office on Friday revealed that the company in collaboration with the district police conducted 1,910 raids and imposed fines worth Rs 6,973,430 on power thieves within seven days.
It said Mepco officials had recovered Rs1.4m out of the total imposed fine during the the campaign which started on Sept 7. As many as 151,965 units were charged to five commercial and 98 domestic consumers
Mepco spokesperson Waseem Abbas told Dawn that strict measures had been taken against defaulters and electricity thieves. He said measures like registration of FIRs against electricity thieves, their immediate arrest and confiscation of their goods were yielding substantial results. He said the process had not only resulted in clear reduction in electricity theft but the arrears pending for a long time were also being recovered.
Bahawalnagar District Police Officer Ali Raza told this correspondent that 173 FIRs had been registered so far, while 313 electricity thieves were arrested.
On the other hand, citizens have termed the Mepco recovery campaign unfair and said after increasing the price of electricity by 500 times, the government’s method of collecting electricity bills by force was erroneous.
A vendor, Abdul Razzaq, told Dawn that last month he paid Rs25,000 electricity bill of his two-room house by selling his wife’s jewellery and now he did not know how he would be able to pay the current month’s bill.
Riaz, a security guard from Bahawalnagar, who receives a monthly salary of Rs9,000, said he was the sole breadwinner for his six children. He said after getting the electricity bill worth Rs30,000 for August, he had no choice but to start thinking of committing suicide along with his family members.
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2023