Govt finalises strategy to install smart meters, ABC cables to control power theft

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has decided to install smart electricity meters and new aerial bundles cables (ABC) across the country in order to reduce power theft.

Sources stated that a comprehensive strategy has been prepared in this regard and soon these smart meters and ABC cables would be installed at the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) and the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO).

The government is fully committed to reduce the circular debt currently estimated to be at Rs150 billion. For this, smart electricity meters and new ABC cables would be installed across the country.

Electricity theft is a tragic issue faced by the government and citizens in Pakistan. This is done through direct hooks (installed before a meter) which are also often overlooked by the ground staff of power distribution companies, who facilitate people in this crime. According to a National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) report, the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO), along with the Hyderabad, Quetta, Sukkur, Tribal and Lahore electric supply companies have the highest percentages of power theft, and are the root cause of the circular debt that has strangled the economy.

The main objective of installing ABC cables is to improve old defective systems of electricity and to reduce power theft. The planned project would be completed in five years’ time period and an amount of $5 billion is to be spent on this project.

Sources stated that the concerned energy ministry would consult with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the completion of this project. The last government had also initiated similar projects in the past, but had failed.

Currently, the government needs to allocate dedicated police investigative officers and magistrates to the companies where theft is at its peak, and ensure crackdowns to bring this issue to an end.

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