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According to a Business Recorder news report, “a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance has sought the list of electricity defaulters and outstanding dues in each DISCO from the Power Division in the next meeting.

In response to a question about the electricity theft and electricity subsidy for the current financial year, the committee was informed that approximately there was electricity theft of Rs467 billion and a subsidy of around Rs976billion was provided in the financial year 2023”.

The foregoing clearly suggests that electricity is a big menace in the country. Successive governments have in fact encouraged stealing of electricity with a view to serving their voters.

Power theft is equally prevalent in urban and rural areas. Influential people in particular either pay very little or nothing against the power they consume regularly. There is another method of stealing power: non-payment of bills.

A case in point is the growing challenge of recovery of money against the power consumed by individuals and organizations. Paying electricity bills is considered by many influential people as an affront to their position in their respective communities. In other words, they feel making payments against electricity charges is beneath their dignity.

In many big and small areas of the country power theft has acquired the status of an industry, so to speak. Power thieves have been thriving or prospering through the income that they earn through power theft and supply it to people on very cheap rates; in most cases on a monthly basis against paltry amounts as compared to the real or original cost of electricity.

It is heartening to note that the Senate of Pakistan has taken notice of this issue and demanded the relevant people provide a list of power defaulters. In my view, however, the upper house of Senate is unlikely to achieve anything meaningful, given the fact that not only do we have a culture of defeat, we also promote — knowingly or unknowingly — a culture of theft.

Moreover, that the issue is far too complex is a fact. That is why perhaps the federal government is finding it extremely difficult to arrive at some conclusive solution in response to growing public outcry against inflated electricity bills.

Zafar Ahmed Ansari


Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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