Exploitation of power consumers

AFTER assuming charge as Minister for Power Awais Leghari had given hope to millions of consumers, who honestly pay their bills, that the issue of over billing will be addressed forthwith and to this effect he also got passed a bill aiming to control the issue by imposing penalties.
It is however a pity that despite the enactment of relevant law, the situation has not much changed and the DISCOs continue to rob the hapless consumers. According to a latest presentation on DISCOs before higher authorities, the power consumers are still subjected to systematic over-billing of over Rs30 billion in one year and in the month of January 2018 alone end consumers has paid Rs1.970 billion more on account of manipulation in units by electric power distribution companies. And definitely it is being done to cope with the distribution loss that according to some estimates stands at 19%. The situation warrants that action is taken against the erring distribution companies and the unscrupulous elements given strict punishment as per law to provide relief to the consumers. Indeed our power sector is marred by too many ills. These shortcomings too often cause higher incidence of line losses. In addition to power theft and little or no payment of electricity bills by a large number of consumers, over-billing by Discos causes a great deal of inconvenience and hardships to a vast majority of consumers who receive electricity through the national grid and regularly pay their bills. We expect that while the NEPRA need to come in action on the matter, Minister Awais Leghari who had openly admitted the issue of over-billing on the floor of the house needs to start a campaign against the elements bringing bad name to his ministry. While the government has succeeded in addressing the issue of power outages, it is also time to address other related issues relating to transmission and power pilferage. The burden of line losses and circular debt should not be shifted to honest consumers as by doing so it is badly affecting our industrial sector. The provincial governments also need to fully cooperate with the federal authorities without any expediency to check the menace of power pilferage.

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