February, 22, 2024
Electricity Woes: Unjust Billing Sparks Punjab Outcry

Electricity Woes: Unjust Billing Sparks Punjab Outcry

Infostani Sources- Power distribution companies in Punjab are unfairly collecting 675 billion rupees per year from honest electricity consumers through over-billing, according to Secretary Power Rashid Langriyal. During a media briefing, Langriyal revealed that the government allocated a subsidy of 900 billion rupees for electricity consumers. However, only 327 billion rupees are being provided, while consumers bear the burden of the remaining 573 billion rupees. Information Minister Murtaza Solangi also attended the briefing.

Langriyal further disclosed that Punjab’s power distribution companies (MAPCO, Fesco, LESCO, and GAPCO) are annually charging consumers Rs 100 billion through over-billing to minimize their losses. The caretaker government had initially intended to transfer power companies to the provinces without detailing any action against the involved companies. However, Langriyal clarified that the plan is now obsolete. He emphasized that the only viable solution is the privatization of power companies.

The secretary highlighted that factors such as foreign-invested power plants, lack of competition, and exchange rate instability have led to a fourfold increase in capacity to Rs 2,000 billion, resulting in a cost of Rs 21 per unit. He projected a further increase to 2.2 thousand billion rupees in the next financial year, surpassing the current financial year by 203 billion rupees. Langriyal criticized the lack of competition in setting up plants and energy projects under CPEC. Asserting that unscrupulous businesses have hijacked Pakistan’s economy. Hindering the entry of new players and impacting industrialization.

Electricity Woes: Unjust Billing Sparks Punjab Outcry

Langriyal Highlights Causes and Solutions for High Electricity Prices in Punjab

He attributed the high electricity prices to the installation of power plants with foreign capital. Stressing that the federal and Punjab governments have installed four LNG power plants of 4,700 MW, costing 87 billion rupees. Coal-fired power plants with a capacity of 6,800 MW from Qaim, with a cost of 262 billion rupees. Langriyal acknowledged that consumers pay significantly higher prices because of the lack of competition in installing power plants.

Langriyal acknowledged the absence of a plan to lower electricity prices but expressed optimism about the anti-electricity theft campaign. Successful in halting 163.6 billion rupees in theft and collecting cash, will persist beyond the election. Power distribution companies are causing line losses of 890 billion rupees due to various reasons. With power theft accounting for 201 billion rupees, and non-recovery of electricity bills causing an additional loss of 387 billion rupees.

Langriyal revealed that technical failures result in losses of 589 billion rupees. Contributing to the power sector’s debt of 3.5 thousand billion rupees in the current financial year. With a revenue of 2.5 billion rupees, there is a generated gap of 976 billion rupees. The government has budgeted to provide financial support of Rs 976 billion, with Rs 584 billion allocated to power companies. To offer cheap electricity to tribal areas, Balochistan, and Azad Jammu, and Kashmir as per policy.

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