Senate body asks Discos to furnish working paper


ISLAMABAD: Senate Functional Committee on Problems of Less Developed Areas in its meeting on Friday asked representatives of various power distribution companies (DISCOS) to submit a detailed working paper before the panel on the provision on electricity to the less developed areas of the country.

The panel meeting was held here under the chairmanship of Senator Muhammad Usman Kakar to discuss the various issues related to Power Distribution Companies with major focus on supply/demand situation and distribution in less developed areas of the country.

Usman Kakar asked the officials of the Ministry of Energy, Power Division, and representatives of DISCOs working for electricity distribution to less developed areas to submit a work plan citing details of demand/supply capacity, distribution network, present contribution to national grid, how to increase generation and how to cater for increasing line losses and a better billing mechanism.

The committee was given detailed briefings on the sanctioned strengths in DISCOs, their generation and distribution capacity, contribution to the national grid, load shedding hours and losses. The committee also discussed the prospects of having more wind and solar energy generation units to overcome the energy deficit the country is facing at present.

“The overall electricity generation at present has recently crossed 20,000 megawatts, which was more than the demand,” the officials told while briefing on the power production situation.

The joint secretary Power Division said the country is facing a shortfall of 25 percent electricity generation from hydel sector at present as compared to the previous year.

The officials said the ministry is focusing to enhance the performance of all the DISCOs and expressed hope that there would be a revolutionary change in power distribution during the next couple of months.

They said there has also been a law to check power theft; however, there are problems in its implementation. “The ministry along with provincial governments is taking measures to overcome the issue,” they added. The officials said power sector always faces challenges, emanating from demand and supply and technical issues. They said recently the high demand of 24,800 MW was recorded during Iftar time, adding that during peak durations of Sehar and Iftar, the power supply throughout the country is managed with 90 percent consumers face no load shedding. The situation in 2013 was different as after every hour, the consumers had to face power outage. Now only those feeders are facing load shedding which have been recording power theft and losses, they maintained.

The joint secretary Power Division said power sector is facing most serious challenge of circular debt as a result of non-payment of electricity bills by consumers, power theft and line losses. He told that from 2013-18, the circular debt has reached Rs573 billion, adding that the running defaulters are Rs348 billion. Moreover the government is providing a subsidy of Rs52.22 billion to Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K), Rs14.2 billion to formerly Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Rs31.4 billion to industrial sector.

The official further told that 650MW of electricity is being provided to K-Electric, adding that from March to July 2018 the generation cost of the electricity is Rs8.52 per unit and the consumer cost is Rs11.9 per unit. Terming the electricity theft and non-payment of bills by influential people as financial terrorism, the Senate committee asked the government to make strategy for controlling the same.

The poor people are paying electricity bills regularly and if they miss one bill, their electricity is disconnected while the influential people are regular defaulters and due to their high contacts, nobody is disconnecting their connections, said Shibli Faraz.

The meeting was also attended by Senators Sardar Azam Musakhel, Haji Momin Khan Afridi, Gianchand, Kalsoom Parveen, CEO ADEP, joint secretary Ministry of Energy, and general managers, chief engineers and CEOs of various DISCOs of the country.