Pakistan: Army set to take over loss-making Discos to curb power theft, losses


ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to hand over the supervision of loss-making Discos to Pakistan Army to curb electricity thief and losses besides improve recovery of electricity bills.

According to officials privy to the development, a serving brigadier and his supporting staff comprising officials from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) will oversee matters at the Performance Monitoring Units (PMUs) to be established in in all the loss-making Discos.

The monitoring team will have the mandate to identify corrupt elements within the Discos as well as people abetting and stealing electricity. These officials will also have the authority to take action against the perpetrators.

“We have carved out a plan which is yet to be approved by higher authorities. However, the top functionaries of Power Division have made up their minds to start implementation of the plan from HESCO (Hyderabad Electric Supply Company) as a pilot project,” the secretary power confirmed.

“This will help identify unscrupulous elements within the Disco and people hand in glove with theft of electricity and causing billions of rupee losses to the national exchequer,” he added.

According to the data for the financial year 2020-21, the recovery of electricity bills in HESCO was at 73.7%, in SPECO 64.6%, in QESCO at 34.66% and TESCO at 25.29%.

The caretaker energy minister, on September 6, announced a crackdown plan on electricity thieves mentioning that the system annually braves the colossal loss on account of electricity theft and failure to pay bills amounting to Rs589 billion.

As of September 6 this year, the total loss in the Discos where recovery is relatively better — in Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan and Islamabad — amounted to 79 billion units, which is equal to a loss of Rs100 billion out of billing of Rs3,044 bn, estimated at 3%. Similarly, the Discos in Peshawar, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Azad Jammu and Kashmir had losses as high as 60%.

However, in the loss-making companies such as HESCO, SEPCO, QESCO and TESCO, the required results are not being attained which is why it has been decided that Performance Monitoring Units are to be headed by a serving brigadier with supporting staff from FIA and IB.__Pakistan Today