Committee suggests increased efficiency in DISCOs to resolve crisis | Pakistan Today

Committee suggests increased efficiency in DISCOs to resolve crisis

As the National Assembly Standing Committee on Water and Power was informed on Thursday that the electricity shortfall has increased to a massive 7,000 MW, members advised authorities to take immediate steps to improve governance in distribution companies (DISCOs) as their inefficiency was leading to innumerable miseries to the people.
The meeting of the committee was held under the chairmanship of Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah. Managing Director of Pakistan Electric Power Company. Rasul Khan Masud the power generation was being strangled due to the circular debt as the provincial governments were not paying their outstanding dues. Secretary Ministry of Water and Power Imtiaz Kazi said the outstanding dues of federal government have reached Rs100 billion. He said the government of Sindh was not paying outstanding dues of PEPCO even after the instructions of the Chief Minister of Sindh.
The committee members were of the opinion that instead of cutting power supply of tubewells, the DISCOs should cut the power supply of provincial chief ministers, DCO and DPO to force them to help DISCOs make recoveries form the public and private sector entities. Ijaz Virk of PPP said there was no justification to penalise honest bill payers in Punjab due to the losses in other provinces. “If HESCO and PESCO make less than 50 per cent recovery their supply should be cut accordingly”.
MD PEPCO also conceded that there was no culture of payment of electricity bills in TESCO, PESCO, HESCO, SEPCO and QESCO and power theft was rampant. The only solution lies in cutting power supplies to introduce the culture of bill payment. Imtiaz Kazi assured the committee that sufficient water was available in reservoirs to meet the requirements of the Rabi season. He requested the committee to stress to the government for timely payment to PEPCO to overcome the power crisis. The committee decided to send its recommendations to the Prime Minister for resolving the circular debt.
The committee was informed said that the government has no plans for out right privatization of LESCO, IESCO, and FESCO instead they will be granted more autonomy. The committee was informed that the Punjab government was opposing two weekly holidays and matter will be settled in the meeting of Council of Common Interests. Expressing his helplessness to solve the power crisis, Rasul Khan Masud said, the company was getting only 16,000 tonnes of oil against a requirement of over 30,000 tonnes per day. He said that there were thousands of vacancies vacant in DISCOs as the Ministry of Finance had imposed a ban on new recruitments. He said there was shortage of technical manpower which resulted in delay of rectifying faults.
The committee was briefed by the CEOs of HESCO and SEPCO regarding post flood situation in Sindh. CEO HESCO said they strived hard for providing uninterrupted power supply to consumers during the devastating floods from August 10 to September 17, 2011. About 70 per cent area falling under the jurisdiction of HESCO was affected by floods. Power supply to all the relief camps was ensured in all rain affected areas by immediate replacement of burnt transformers and broken conductors. The exact loss would be assessed after situation turns normal.
The committee was informed that the Sindh government departments were not making payment of even current bills, which aggravated HESCO difficulties. The government of Sindh paid only Rs43.5 million in August-September as against bill of Rs1.9 billion which is only 2.2 per cent of the total payable. The committee directed the Secretary Ministry of Water and Power to conduct inquiries on various issues pointed out by the members and submit reports to the committee.
The meeting was attended by Muhammad Ijaz Virk, Nawab Abdul Ghani Talpur, Abdul Haq Mian Mitha, Sajjad-ul-Hassan, Nawab Muhammad Yusuf Talpur, Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani, Anjum Aqeel Khan, Pir Mohammad Aslam Bodla, Muhammad Nawaz Allai and Salahuddin.

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