ISLAMABAD - The federal government has asked the four provinces to provide around 1086 law enforcement agencies personnel for crackdown on the electricity thieves as theft has caused loss of Rs 60 billion during the first nine months of the current fiscal year (2017-18).

In separate letters to all the four chief ministers, Federal Minister for Energy (Power) Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari requested the provinces to help the federal government in curbing electricity theft in their respective provinces and take personal intervention in national interests.

The letters highlighted the dire need of support from the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) for safeguarding staff/installations of power distribution companies (Discos), during crackdown operation on pilferers and prompt registration of FIRs for curbing the theft and proceeding against the culprits. In these letters, the minister has also mentioned the quantum of theft in the respective Discos of these provinces in nine months (July 2017 to March 2018), sensitising them and requesting them for help in controlling power theft which is a potential threat to the power security of the country and its financial health.

The details reveled that in Punjab, in these nine months, the volume of power theft in Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) was recorded at Rs6.65 billion, Multan Electric Supply Company (Mepco) Rs3.03 billion; Faisalabad Electric Supply Company Rs1.52 billion; and Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) Rs1.0 billion. In Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco), the figure is Rs226 million. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) amount of theft in nine months was recorded at worrisome Rs23.48 billion. In Sindh province, Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) theft amount was Rs6.78 billion and in Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) the amount was Rs9.7 billion. In Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) of Baluchistan province, the amount of power theft in nine months was Rs6.75 billion.

The minister has also requested and asked for exact requirement of law enforcement personnel and vehicles. For Punjab, Lesco’s 191 subdivisions, it asked for 32 vehicles and 378 personnel; MEPCO’s 98 sub division 20 vehicles and 120 personnel; FESCO’s 138 sub divisions 25 vehicles and 100 personnel, while GEPCO’s 118 sub divisions require one vehicle and six personnel. Iesco’s nine sub divisions require two vehicles and 12 personnel. In KP, for 53 sub divisions of the Pesco, the federal government asked for 53 vehicles and 212 personnel. From Sindh province, the center requested for arranging 16 vehicles and 96 personnel to control theft in 68 sub divisions of Hesco. In SEPCO’s 62 sub divisions, it requested for 16 vehicles and 96 personnel. The federal government also requested the Baluchistan government for arranging 14 vehicles and 66 LEAs personnel to look after the 55 subdivisions of Qesco.

It is worth mentioning that the federal minister had also written letters to chief ministers in March 2018 requesting for a meeting to devise a strategy and finalising the details to cope with the power theft issue that is adding tens of billions of rupees a month to the circular debt.