ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan has directed the concerned authorities for quick registration of FIR against electricity thieves. He has also instructed the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) to monitor and execute correct application of relevant laws in the FIRs to bring the culprits to justice.
He passed on the above directives in a meeting on Monday to review the power sector’s performance in wake of the targets assigned to various organisations.
The minister expressed resolve to take all necessary steps for making electricity theft an expensive and cumbersome process in order to save billions of rupees for the national exchequer.
Khan informed that his meeting with the Sindh chief minister last Friday was very fruitful, as he has committed to extend all-out assistance to Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) in the drive against electricity theft. He said he will also meet the Balochistan chief minister in the near future to seek his assistance in this regard.
Pepco managing director briefed the federal minister that a total of 15,489 theft cases have been detected since the Power Division’s campaign launch on the directive of the prime minister, while 7,543 FIRs have been registered and 1,150 people have been arrested.
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A total of 35.64 million units have been charged from consumers on account of theft detection amounting to Rs564.57 million, of which Rs116.84 million have been recovered.
The minister was further apprised that 214 officers and officials of various distribution companies have either been dismissed, sent on forced retirement, suspended or other disciplinary proceeding initiated on account of their involvement in electricity theft. FIRs are also being lodged against those officials.
The federal minister expressed concern over certain officers’ posting of various grades at the same station for more than three years and directed Pepco to immediately take action in this regard.
On statistics regarding observance of safety parameters by the line staff and on availability of sufficient and quality safety equipment, the minister expressed his dissatisfaction and directed Pepco to prepare a report on international standards and implement the same in all distribution companies as current dispensation cannot be left to continue to the detriment of officials.
Distribution companies performance will be reviewed in the next week on the targets assigned on various accounts including recovery, lines losses, improvement of distribution network etc, he said and expressed his strong resolve to give merit and best performance a preference in the power sector.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2018.