ISLAMABAD: Federal government is facing a catch 22 situation with respect to power loadshedding in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) as neither provincial administration is extending cooperation to stop forced restoration of electricity nor Peshawar Electric Supply Corporation (Pesco) can disconnect high loss feeders due to law and order situation, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

According to National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (Nepra’s) State of Industry Report 2023, Pesco purchased 15,254.53 units and sold 9,548.86 which imply that 5,548.86 units were lost.

Pesco’s loss target was 20.24 per cent whereas actual losses were recorded at 37.40 per cent, highest amongst all Discos. This shows the Disco made 17.17 losses higher than the target which translated into 2,614.61 units in 2023. The cumulative financial losses of Disco were Rs 77.37 billion. The distribution capacity of Pesco is not more than 2000MW, which disables it from give full time supply even it receives its demanded quota from NPCC.

Attacks by MNAs, MPAs on grid stations caused heavy financial loss: PESCO chief

Chief Minister, KPK, Ali Amin Ghandapur held a joint meeting with Minister for Interior Mohsin Naqvi and Power Minister Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari where entire power issues came under discussion. Both sides had decided to set up a committee comprising KPK and Federal Government to sort out recovery and electricity supply issues.

However, the issue is still simmering as Chief Minister himself got involved in forced restoration of electricity to high loss making areas in the presence of top officials of Policy and Districts Administration. Police is unable to register cases against its own political masters. However, FIA is registering cases against those who are forcing Pesco’s staff to restore electricity or are involved in theft, but is hesitant to take action against them due to charged atmosphere.

According to an official letter on June 19, 2024, Home and Tribal Affairs Department, KPK informed all Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners that the general public is agitating against unscheduled load shedding and reportedly upto 22 hours’ load shedding in some places. The intense heat wave is further exacerbating the prevailing situation. A number of protests are being held across KPK. In certain areas, protests have led to road blockades.

On the same date, Minister for Power, Awais Leghari wrote a letter to Interior Minister, who officiated a meeting between chief Minister KPK and Power Minister, noting that in some incidents in parts of KPK responsible public figures were leading rowdy protests inside the premises of grid stations in Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshehra, Charsadda, Tank and Bannu on the pretext of power outage.

A report of CEO Pesco indicates instances where number of Provincial Assembly and other political figures including mayors has illegally commandeered the staff of grid stations for restoration of power supply.

Power Minister argued that Pesco has to manage the load on those feeders, which are running huge and unsustainable losses due to power theft and non-payment of bills, in accordance with the planned outage hours, adding that such illegal actions are not only jeopardizing safety of the costly machinery and equipment inside the grid stations but also endangering the personal safety of the Pesco staff who are threatened every now and then.

The sources said officials of Power Division are in formal and informal contact with provincial administration especially, the representative of Federal Government i.e. Chief Secretary, who also seems helpless in the 22 catch situation.

The CM wants scheduled load shedding of not more than 10 hours but Pesco cannot ensure supply due to high losses.

Nepra is against revenue based power load shedding and the same time, Ministry of Law and Justices also opposes forced load shedding saying it is against the fundamental rights of the people.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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M. Zahid Iftikhar Jun 22, 2024 10:09am
Electricity thieves have elected PTI to represent their interest in theft; hence PTI govt will do nothing at all & blackmail Federal govt instead. We shall pay for the loss while PTI cries about Insaf
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