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LAHORE: The Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) has misled the power division that transmission and distribution (T&D) losses have been reduced by 0.26 percent against the previous fiscal year 2018-2019, said a report of Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) containing performance statistics of distribution companies (DISCOs) up to June 2020.

It may be noted that National Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) had set 8.84 percent T&D losses to FESCO but it had ended up on 9.56 percent, showing an increase of 0.72 percent. However, the FESCO management misled the authorities by comparing its losses to the corresponding fiscal year instead of comparing it with the target set by the NEPRA.

Accordingly, the FESCO management misstated T&D loss for the fiscal year 2019-2020 and misled the authorities concerned to conceal the poor performance of the company. It may be noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan has also admitted that the data provided by the power division has been fudged.

Similarly, FESCO had received 14291.90 million units and incurred a loss of Rs. 20.416 billion due to a loss of 1,168.66 million units. It may be noted the average rate per unit was Rs17.47 at that time.

So far as expenditure on renovation of T&D system during the same period is concerned, the report said that it had spent a huge expenditure of Rs. 1.741 billion with zero impact on T&D losses. Meanwhile, false data was incorporated in the estimates to justify the works. The benefit-cost ratio (BCR) would have exposed the foul play in the estimation if accurate data had been taken up, said PEPCO sources.

The PEPCO sources said defective meters have always been a source of distribution losses. The impact of huge investment on replacement of defective meters is not visible on distribution losses because the meters of most of those consumers have been replaced who were indulging in the theft of electricity under the patronage of FESCO officials. The proofs of theft are removed from the sites by replacing the meters and later on destroying them in stores.

The report has pointed that the relevant record shows that FESCO management had replaced 15727 meters despite the fact that they were not defective. Similarly, it had shown the replacement of 53741 meters without attributing any defect to them. Replacement of non-defective meters leads to suspicion of theft of electricity in these connections, as data suggests that these meters have been replaced with ulterior motives, said the PEPCO sources.

Similarly, a large number of other discrepancies have also been pointed out in the PEPCO report, which suggests poor performance of the DISCO. Interestingly, the federal government, NEPRA, IMF, WB and all other relevant institutions have also been pointing out in the past that DISCOs are being mismanaged and their efficiency leaves much to be desired and they are plundering the national exchequer.

The most unfortunate part of the issue is that despite acknowledging the poor working of DISCOs, no action is taken against the CEOs. The practice of evaluating their performances is made on a quarterly basis by a third-party panel of experts is also not in place. To add salt to the injury, said sources, past secretaries of Power Division have also been indulged in concealing the poor performance of DISCOs management. They have been misleading the federal government while projecting that all is well in DISCOs and other powerful entities.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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