Pakistan’s Ministry for Water and Power says it has devised a mechanism to address consumer complaints after power distribution companies were found to have charged excessive electricity costs from consumers. But why should there be overbilling in the first place? How long has this been going on? Why is a new mechanism needed and why was the old one so corrupt? Excuses upon excuses are being given, now that they have been caught.
Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) in a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday has claimed that electricity bills of the domestic consumers could be reduced by 50 percent if corruption in IPPs, distribution companies and Wapda was checked. Wapda and KESC – the only two agencies who use the electric meters in millions per annum in Pakistan – had been instructing the electric meter manufacturers to provide 35% faster meters to them. IPPs keep flaunting their ever-rising fiscal profits, now we know how they are making their profits. National Electricity Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) in fact said that this problem did not fall into their jusridiction! The fictitious loading of production costs by KESC & Independent Power Plants and Fertilizer Manufacturers comes to an amount of Rs 1,000 billion in 10 years. To go with this gross misconduct, Nepra has failed to provide records to SECP since the last 2 years. This is just another example of the dishonesty and corruption of top officials that have allowed this to go on, and government enterprises and bureaucracy are lazy and deceitful.
Federal State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali has called for an independent audit feigning a lack of knowledge, just like his peers do in situations of crisis and being caught red handed. The Sharif government needs to realize that these issues add to the nails in their coffin. They have not made any efforts to curb the menace of electricity theft, when they know that energy is their biggest problem. Merit based appointments are a rarity, and many heads/ CEOs of power distribution and generation companies are incompetent. Transparency dies in an organization when a political crony heads it.