The interim government has decided to launch a crackdown against electricity theft as it unveiled several measures aiming to reduce the ballooning circular debt in the power sector, which is one of the main causes behind the power tariff hike.
The government, facing the anger of citizens who have been continuously protesting over inflated electricity bills, has so far failed to come up with immediate relief measures owing to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) stringent conditions for a short-term $3 billion bailout package.
Caretaker Energy Minister Mohammad Ali, addressing a press conference alongside interim Information Minister Murtaza Solangi in Islamabad, briefed the media on measures being taken to stop power theft and increase recovery of electricity bills.
“We are working on the electricity theft act under which we will establish the infrastructure of enforcement alongside constituting special courts to try and punish those involved in theft,” the energy minister said.
He said the Electricity Act will be moved in the next two to three weeks and passed through a presidential ordinance.
“We are aiming to stop or reduce power theft of Rs589 billion at the earliest,” the interim minister remarked.
In line with the directions of caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the energy minister said authorities are initiating a crackdown against electricity theft.
He said power consumers have to “carry a burden of those who steal electricity” and the electricity prices cannot be reduced until the elimination of power theft.
Ali said the authorities will take action against power thieves on the basis of data available to them.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister also shared that a list of those power distribution companies’ officers involved in power theft has been compiled and action against them will be taken.
He said the list of officers has been sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for their removal.
On Monday, caretaker PM Kakar directed immediate action against those involved in power theft and asked the relevant authorities to submit reports in this regard on a daily basis.
Chairing a meeting, the prime minister also directed swift action against the defaulters, saying there should not be any leniency towards the power thieves and defaulters.
The prime minister was briefed in detail about the energy sector issues. The meeting was informed about the total installed capacity, actual generation and overall energy supply during various seasons.
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