ISLAMABAD - AHMAD AHMADANI - Officials of water & power ministry has revealed to special committee on energy crisis that around 45 per cent electricity went wastage due to electric power theft and line losses while decision has been taken to withdraw free power unit facility from Wapda employees and installation of pre paid metering system in government departments.

National Assembly Special Committee on Energy Crisis held here on Monday in the premises of Parliament House under the Chairmanship of Engineer Usman Khan Taraki, MNA. Additional Secretary water and power ministry Arshad Mirza disclosed a shocking disclosure to the committee that 45 per cent electricity went wastage due to electric power theft and line losses over which the meeting expressed its surprise and grave concerns.

The meeting was informed that public and private departments are defaulters of Rs 426 billion as federal government owes Rs7 billion, Azad Jammu & Kashmir government Rs19 billion, and provincial governments Rs93 billion while industrial units of some ministers are defaulters of billion of rupees.

Water and Power Ministry’s official also told the meeting that owing to misuse of a privilege of free electric power units to Wapda employees, it has been decided to withdraw the facility from employees and under monetisation a fix amount would be given to the employees in their monthly salaries after getting consent of employees union.

A member of committee Bushra Gohar was of the view that though the committee had recommended earlier taking action against the defaulting industrial units within one month yet no one here knows how much implementation took place on it. She said though a textile mill of Foreign Minister’s husband is a defaulter of billion of rupees yet instead of taking any action against the mill owner a plan of collection has been devised which is extremely exploitation and is a joke with the committee’s recommendation.

During the course of this meeting, Joint Secretary Zargham Ishaq Khan apprised the committee that ministry is going to adopt a new metering system to control increasing power theft, and also informed that, entire metering system would be removed within three months span of time. He added that prepaid meters would be installed in government departments and World Bank would give financial assistance for this project.  Officials further briefed that at present electricity shortfall stands at 2,500MW while demand stands at 8,700MW electricity in the country.

Upon this, the committee members grilled the officials that if shortfall stands at 2,500MW electricity then why 15 hours long loadshedding is going on in various parts of the country. Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur told the meeting that shortfall has gone up to 16 hours while Abdul Qadir Khnazada said that there was 12 hours load shedding in Karachi, the port city and business hub of the country. However, viewing the urgency of the matter, the legislative body decided to hold weekly meetings over swelling energy crisis.

Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi while criticising the role of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) has raised the issue of monopoly established by the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the country and said that IPPs have become a strong mafia that have hijacked the entire network of power producers in the country. He said IPP mafia has become a big hurdle in the commissioning of new projects of alternate energy resources and have made hostage the entire country and also added that they buy every one who raised questions about them. Furthermore, Committee annoyed over billion rupees worth losses in electricity distributing companies (DISCOs) has constituted a sub-committee to check the reasons behind line losses, circular debt in the power sector.