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ISLAMABAD: Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO), one of the top loss-making power Distribution Companies (Discos), has revealed that recovery from its three circles is negligible due to weak writ of provincial government, political pressure and Jirgas’ undue favour to defaulters.

PESCO is a domestic-oriented company (88%) and has eight circles, consisting of Peshawar, Khyber, Mardan, Hazara-I, Hazara-II, Swat, Bannu and Swabi. Of eight circles, five circles Hazara-I, Hazara-II, Mardan, Swat and Swabi mostly consist of soft areas, whereas remaining three circles, Peshawar, Khyber and Bannu are hard areas.

In a letter to Secretary Power Division, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) PESCO, Abdul Jabbar Khan has said that situation in PESCO is different from the rest of the Discos. In PESCO existence of a sizeable part of company’s domain is non-compliant because of weak writ of the provincial government and ground reality of worsening law and order situation in KP.

The company is in serious difficulties in recovery of legitimate electricity arrears, particularly from domestic consumers and control of electricity theft.

Theft of electricity at large scale, non-payment culture, life threats, road blockages by the defaulters and hook users, attacks on Pesco’s offices and installation, jirgas favouring defaulters, political interference due to voters’ pressure and acute shortage of staff are the main issues affecting the performance of PESCO, he added.

CEO further contended that the issues faced by PESCO are duly acknowledged by the Federal and Provincial governments and in 2018 Chief Minister’s Task Force was established in the light of direction of Prime Minister to curb power theft by all means and to save the national exchequer from loss.

The Chief Minister’s Task Force at Provincial level and District Enforcement Committee (DEC) in each district has been established to supervise operation against theft of electricity. It was a joint venture of Provincial Government and PESCO against pilferage of electricity.

According to the CEO, objective of the Task Force was to launch, conduct and supervise focused and sustained operation against the use of direct hooks and recovery of PESCO’s legitimate outstanding electricity dues from defaulter consumers with the help of local police and district administration.

The activities of the Task Force continued for a period of 11 months and the results were encouraging. However, unfortunately for reasons not known the activities of Task Force were discontinued.

He maintained that Task Force has now again been re-activated with the efforts of PESCO Board of Directors. The objective of the Task Force is to launch, conduct and supervise focused and sustained operation/ initiative by utilizing the local police force to remove direct hooks, recover outstanding dues from PESCO defaulters, and register FIRs against defaulters and completion of action on FIRs against defaulters.

A number of meetings have been conducted so far with each and every member of District Enforcement Committee/Local Administration by the respective Superintending Engineer to cooperate with PESCO’s staff in anti-theft and recovery campaign but the Local Administration is least interested and hesitant to extend full support and corporation in eradication of Kunda Culture, removing of direct hooks and recovering the outstanding arrear from PESCO defaulters, he continued.

CEO PESCO requested Secretary Power to approach the Chief Minister / Chief Secretary KP to issue strict directions to the Local Administration and Police to extend full support to PESCO’s staff in carrying out anti-theft raids and recovery campaign.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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