KARACHI: Chairman of the National Business Group Pakistan and President of the Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) Mian Zahid Hussain has said that utilisation of electricity is very low due to its high cost, which is hindering social and economic development.

A hike in power tariff will further reduce the pace of the country’s social and economic development, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that due to a further increase in the price of electricity, its consumption will further decrease and theft will increase which will damage the economy.

The whole electricity system is in the control of elites which can only be improved through the involvement of the local communities.

He said that full involvement of the local community in the electricity sector is being ensured in many developed countries, which has yielded positive results.

He said that public participation has become essential in power generation, distribution, governance, and other matters.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that by 2030, the demand for electricity in Pakistan will increase from 25,000 MW to 40,000 MW, for which arrangements are needed.

He noted that electricity theft has never been controlled in the country’s history and according to the official data; electricity worth Rs 380 billion has been stolen during this year, which can reach Rs 520 billion with the increase in tariff.

Out of the stolen electricity, Rs 200 billion worth of electricity was stolen through kundas and Rs 80 billion stolen through meters.

Electricity is being stolen all over the country, but Bannu Mardan and Sukkur are leading in this regard. Electricity thieves included people from all walks of life including ordinary consumers and government officials.

Now, regular businesses have opened to help with electricity theft, which is in great demand.

According to an estimate, 20 percent of the electricity is stolen and 10 percent of the electricity bills are not paid. About 7000 megawatt of electricity is lost from the system every month, which causes a loss of billions of rupees.

The losses are passed on to consumers in the name of line losses, which make electricity expensive, increase business costs and make Pakistani exporters lose their competitiveness in the international market.

Due to the incompetence of the officials, the honest consumers and the state are suffering.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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