PEPCO lobbying to delay reforms


The Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) is lobbying hard to delay implementation of the final draft of power sector reforms, which was recently finalised on the recommendations of technical audit reports of distribution companies (DISCOs) and generations companies (GENCOs). An official source said that the power sector reforms plan had been sent to the Finance Ministry for approval and implementation by giving powers to the autonomous board of directors to fire the incumbent managements and hire new, more professional ones to start implementing the measures to curb power-theft and fake billing. However, the source said that stiff resistance was being offered by the PEPCO higher-ups along with the managements of DISCOs and GENCOs as the plan recommended their immediate removal.
“Due to their lobbying, the plan is struck in the Finance Ministry, as it is taking a holistic view before giving its nod of approval on the reforms,” said the source. The source said the reforms plan recommended introducing international accounting and audit standards in the state-owned power sector entities, as at present their books were like “bottomless pits”. “Their financial data is totally unreliable as DISCOs were found to be charging on the basis of 13 months instead of 12 months per year,” he said.
Even releasing a massive amount of Rs 120 billion to partially settle the circular debt was not likely to end the energy sector woes, he said, adding that an additional amount of Rs 168 billion was required to clear the debt completely. “The technical audit report found that Rs 10 billion per month was pilling up in losses every month due to rampant theft in the DISCOs’ jurisdictions, while GENCOs were losing Rs 26 billion per year in fuel losses,” he added. Urging immediate implementation of reforms, the source said DISCOs managements had effectively blocked the working of the recently appointed boards of directors.