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LAHORE: As many as 650,000 pending applications for new connections in the power distribution companies (Discos) has led to the non-utilization of 1,950 megawatt (MW) electricity load against whom the government is continuously paying raw capacity charges to the independent power producers (IPPs), said sources.

According to the sources, out of the total pendency, some 55,000 applications are submitted by the industrial consumers, 25,000 by the tube-well owners, 40,000 by the commercial consumes with rest of the applications by the domestic consumers. All these applicants, they added, would be utilizing three kilowatt electricity load on an average subject to an immediate installation of electricity meters at their given addresses.

The sources have held the board of directors of all the 10 Discos responsible for undue delay in the procurement of new electricity meters and clear the backlog. The government, on the other hand, is constantly criticizing the previous governments for entering into controversial contracts with the IPPs, based on take and pay basis.

They said the Board not ready to take immediate decisions to deal with the situation and the consumers have no choice but to bear with their inefficiency.

However, Chairman BoD of Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) Dr Syed Zahoor Hussain had made it clear to the media in a recent interaction that the Boards are bound to follow proper process of procurement procedure to protect the interests of the consumers. According to him, one prime reason behind a delay was the cartelization of meter manufacturers, which was followed by another issue related to the quality of meters. Therefore, a delay was inevitable to deal with these issues, he said, and added that the issue of price escalation crept in once the Board had overcome the first two issues.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Lesco Ch Muhammad Amin is of the view that the Corona-specific uncertainty also played due role and the vendors had withdrawn their bids in panic as the price had jumped by one and a half times by the time the purchase order was issued by the company.

The sources from the Ministry of Power Division also told this scribe that the federal government was considering a change in BoD of Discos soon, which have miserably failed to provide direction to Discos and the government is incurring heavy losses in terms of circular debt by paying raw capacity charges to the power producers without utilizing the power generation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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