Finance Minister Asad Umar, has said the authorities needed to take further steps to prevent electricity theft which is rampant countrywide.

Chairing a meeting of Cabinet committee on Energy, Umar reviewed the progress report of action against elements involved in electricity theft. He told the meeting that first information reports (FIRs) had been registered against more than 18,000 people on charges of power pilferage.

“As many as 1,351 people involved in power theft were arrested in the last four months ”, said the minister. He was of the view that a visible reduction of 12.5 percent was witnessed in incidents of electricity theft during last three months.

On Jan 25, Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed for a across the board action against elements involved in electricity and gas pilferage. This he stated while chairing a meeting in Islamabad, to review problems being faced by the Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa (KP) government in energy sector.

Mr Khan, while extending support of the federal government, directed the ministries concerned for immediate solution of the energy issues at the provincial level. He said it was unacceptable that common people suffer due to theft and mismanagement of someone else.

Last year in October, the Economic Coordination Committee had approved a hike in power tariff for households consuming over 300 units per month.

Households that consume between 300 and 700 units per month will see a rise in electricity prices of roughly ten percent or Rs1.18 per unit., and a fifteen percent increase will be imposed for those consuming above 700 units, it was decided.