Now storming of PESCO!

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IN scenes that were reminiscent of storming Parliament House, PTV Headquarters and the PM House during sit-ins in the Federal Capital, PTI workers on Wednesday, invaded offices of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) on grounds that would not stand to logic and reasoning. They were not only demanding ‘elimination’ of load-shedding but also insisted that KP people would not pay more than Rs. 5 per unit for the electricity consumed.
Load-shedding is not unique to Peshawar or other parts of KP and a day earlier Chief Minister Sindh lamented that his province was not getting enough electricity despite payment of dues. Leaving aside whether or not Sindh CM had a point in claiming to have made payments and whether WAPDA was legally bound to provide electricity to K-Electric system at the cost of its own consumers, the fact remains that load-shedding is there in every part of the country and even Islamabad is not immune to it. There is a shortage for reasons known to all and all citizens and all parts of the country will have to bear the burden. As for load-shedding beyond normal hours, there is a set formula agreed to by all that the duration of load-shedding should be in direct proportion to electricity losses in a particular feeder caused by theft and non-payment of electricity bills. There are genuine complaints that most of the areas in Sindh and KP are not paying their bills neither for electricity nor for gas and consumers who pay their bills honestly and regularly in other parts of the country are made to suffer both in terms of load-shedding and hike in power tariff. How can a citizen claim a facility when he is not ready to pay for that? It is because of this chronic default on part of such consumers that the vicious cycle of circular debt is not ending, forcing many IPPs not to operate on full capacity and as a consequence we have more power shortages. It is regrettable that KP provincial government did not intervene and allowed storming of a public property. It was all the more unfortunate that protestors were led and encouraged by a law-maker, who was supposed to uphold rule of law, and against whom there are complaints that 80% power theft cases have been reported in her area. Instead of instigating feelings of the people, it is job of elected representatives and opinion-makers to persuade people to pay their bills and share shortages.