PAC directs  Ministry of Power Division to address over-billing issue

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Khursheed Shah-PAC

ISLAMABAD:Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday directed the Ministry of Power Division, NEPRA to address the issue of over billing by reducing whooping line losses as Rs200 billion was being recovered from the honest consumers.
A meeting of the PAC chaired by Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah noted that All Power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) were over-billing consumers to compensate for their losses. The meeting was held to review audit objections of the year 2016-17.PAC Chairman Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah asked Secretary Water and Power, Chairman National Electricity Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) to reduce technical losses and overcome four percent electricity theft as such is being recovered from bill paying consumers unjustifiably.
MNA Sheikh Rashid Ahmed observed that why honest consumers of electricity were being billed which they did not consume.Secretary Power Division Yousaf Naseem Khokar told that measures were being taken to address over billing issue. The officer responsible would be sentenced three years imprisonment on sending over billing issue.PAC was told by the auditors that Rs28.183 billion losses were incurred during 2016-17 owing to underutilisation of power plants.
All IPPs and GENCOs were supplying electricity to the Central Power Purchase Agency (CPPA) on take or pay basis. Under take or pay agreement  CPPA is bound to purchase all available electricity from the power plants for idle capacity as well.Auditors noted that despite demand of electricity in the system, IPPs and GENCOs power plants were not used to their full capacity. Due to plant underutilisation, the consumers of electricity on one hand faced 8-12 hours load shedding and on the other hand this underutilisation increased the electricity tariff due to payments made on account of take or pay agreement. Audit pointed out that IPPs and GENCOs power plants were not being utilized to their full capacity. Moreover, there is rise in electricity tariff due to take or pay agreement and on consumer, there is load shedding.
Secretary Ministry of Water and Power Yousaf Naseem Khokar said the ministry was pursuing a vibrant strategy to overcome line losses. Several administrative measures were being taken to resolve the issue of over billing.The officials involved in over billing to consumers would sentenced to three years imprisonment. Expressing dismay the absent of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Karachi Electricity Supply Company (KESC) despite summoning by the PAC, Syed Khursheed Shah said CEO must attend PAC on December 20. On failure strict action will be taken against the CEO of KESC. He pended the audit paras of KESC till Dec 20.– APP

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