Power Minister sets April 23 deadline for DISCOs to remove illegal connections or face strict action

No leniency will be given to power pilferers irrespective of their status and position, says Leghari

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Power Division, Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari on Thursday warned all chief executive officers (CEOs) of power distribution companies (DISCOs) to remove ‘Kunda’ before April 23 failing which strict action would be taken against the responsible officials.

Addressing a press conference, Leghari said that the government will ensure strict action against elements involved in power theft. 

He said concrete steps are being taken to overcome inefficiencies in the power sector which are drastically affecting the economy of the country. 

“We have prepared a comprehensive roadmap for reforms in the power sector after thoroughly reviewing the loopholes,” said Awais Leghari.

“On the directives of Prime Minister, a concrete road-map had been chalked out bring comprehensive reforms in country’s power sector to control power pilferage, over-billing and circular debt.” 

The government is committed to bringing improvement in the energy sector, Leghari added.

No leniency would be given to the power pilferers irrespective of their status and position while over-billing would also not be tolerated at any cost, said the minister for power division.

Solid strategy had also been devised to eliminate the menace of power theft in the country, Leghari added.

The minister underscored the government’s unwavering commitment to bring about significant improvements in the energy sector. He reiterated the government’s stance of zero tolerance towards power pilferers, irrespective of their status or position, emphasizing that over-billing would not be tolerated at any cost.

Leghari outlined a solid strategy aimed at eliminating the menace of power theft across the nation, addressing a pressing need that has long burdened the lower-middle class.

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Leghari revealed alarming statistics, stating that power distribution companies (DISCOs) were facing an accumulative loss projected to reach Rs 560 billion by June. He attributed a significant portion of this loss, over Rs 300 billion, to power pilferers, stressing the urgent need to curb such illegal practices.

Expressing determination to root out corruption within the power sector, Leghari vowed to hold accountable all officials, including high-ranking ones such as Executive Engineers (XENs), Sub-Divisional Officers (SDOs), and Chief Engineers, involved in facilitating power theft.

He vowed not to spare even higher officials such as XENs, SDOs, and Chief Engineers involved in the patronage of power pilferage. He claimed that around 20 percent of officials of the power sector were involved in this dirty practice.

In a stern warning to officials, Leghari announced a deadline for the removal of unauthorized connections, known as ‘kunda’, by April 23. Failure to comply would result in strict action against responsible officials. Leghari commended the support extended by the Interior Ministry and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in assisting DISCOs to combat power theft effectively.

Responding to queries, Leghari addressed concerns regarding the circular debt, revealing that it currently stood at approximately Rs 2400 to Rs 2500 billion, with Rs 1900 billion earmarked for recovery. He also touched upon tariff adjustments, clarifying that they were linked to mechanisms such as monthly fuel cost adjustments or quarterly cost adjustments.

Furthermore, Leghari discussed the growing shift towards off-grid solutions, with solar panels of 6800 megawatts capacity being imported in the current year. He highlighted the need for incentive packages to boost power demand during the winter season, ensuring capacity payments were met.

The Minister for Power Division, Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari reiterated the government’s resolute stance in implementing far-reaching reforms to address systemic inefficiencies and combat power theft, underscoring the importance of transparency and accountability in the energy sector.




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