PBIF calls for improved laws to contain power theft. Line losses be reduced to int’l level to tame circular debt. Increasing electricity price hurting production, exports.

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(August 28, 2019)

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said existing laws have failed to contain electricity theft necessitating improvement in the system.

The staff of power companies have remained unsuccessful to demonstrate responsibility, therefore, police should be given powers to deal directly with power thieves while a reward system for the masses should also be introduced, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that system should be designed in a way so that police can take direct action against power stealers to discourage theft while keeping honest consumers insulated from harassment.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said the power sector cannot be improved with frequent upward revision in power tariff, therefore, theft should be stopped to tackle circular debt surpassing one trillion rupees.

The former minister noted that constant increase in power price has taken a toll on masses and production hitting exports. He noted that electricity worth billion is being wasted daily due to theft and line losses while honest consumers are burdened for it.

He said that a campaign was launched against power theft on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan during which 36 thousand cases were registered, 5318 people were arrested and a little over one billion rupees were recovered which is unsatisfactory.

The income of power distribution companies jumped by 121 billion rupees from October 2018 to June 2019 while line losses were reduced by 1.4 percent which should be improved.

Line losses should be brought to international level and recoveries should be improved to provide relief to the government which pays billions in subsidies.

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