ISLAMABAD: Major defaulters of electricity bills are different departments of defences services, cantonments, the presidency, prime minister’s secretariat and parliamentary lodges. The total outstanding dues amount to Rs326 billion.
Provincial governments also have a huge amount of money to pay to power companies.
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Water and Power was informed on Wednesday by Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) that receivables from the defence ministry stood at Rs1.6 billion on Oct 20.
Another Rs1.6 billion is pending against federal government departments and Rs1.9 billion against local government departments and cantonment boards. Autonomous bodies have to pay Rs6.41 billion.
The meeting presided over by Syed Ghulam Mustafa was informed by officials of the ministry of water and power that seven major institutions of the defence ministry, including the Military Engineering Services, had not cleared electricity bills.
Army deployed owes Rs1.37 billion, army in fields Rs32 million, joint staff headquarters Rs11.69 million, PAF Rs211 million, navy Rs21.58 million and the ISI Rs10.66 million.
Abid Sher Ali of the PML-N said ISI was a wealthy organisation and it should not default.
“When they can finance political parties and interfere in democratic affairs why can’t they pay electricity bills,” he said.
He asked Pepco Managing Director Rasool Khan why the amounts owed by the defence ministry and other government departments had not been recovered.
According to a list of defaulters tabled in the committee, the defence production ministry owes only Rs90,000, while the Frontier Corps has to pay Rs2.02 million.
The main defaulters among the local government departments are the cantonment boards of Rawalpindi (Rs131.89 million), Hyderabad (Rs133.47 million) and Chaklala (Rs281 million).
The major federal government departments having failed to pay the dues are railways (Rs729.05 million), state and frontier regions (Rs237.27 million) and Capital Development Authority (Rs1.3 billion). But CDA’s dues include the bills not cleared by the PM’s secretariat, the presidency, the National Assembly and parliamentary lodges.
According to the Pepco MD, receivables from government and private consumers have accumulated to Rs326 billion which is equal to the total circular debt in the power sector.
He said if the amount was recovered it could be used to buy furnace oil for power generation to reduce loadshedding.
The receivables from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government amount to Rs16 billion, Punjab Rs5 billion, Balochistan Rs18 billion, Sindh Rs39 billion and AJK Rs10 billion.
Karachi Electric Supply Company’s Director Abdul Rauf said it had to receive Rs24 billion from defaulters, including Rs5 billion from the city district government and Rs16 billion from the water board.