ISLAMABAD-The power sector revenues have witnessed a marked Rs121 billion increase by overcoming line losses worth Rs16 billion, owing to the prudent and swift policies implemented by the government, the latest official data depicted on Friday. Various other areas have also witnessed significant improvement, especially after the anti-power theft campaign, launched in October 2018, including the introduction of smart meters and record distribution of 23,049 MW electricity through improved transmission network.

A sum of Rs1.3 billion was recovered from 5,318 power thieves after registering 36,000 first information reports (FIRs) against them under anti-power pilferage campaign.

The distribution companies (DISCOs) were also given a target to recover Rs 8 billion from old receivables while freezing the receivable figures, as they stood on October 31 last year. The removal of illegal connections has not only reduced line losses but also lessened burden on the distribution system. In fact, the performance of the power sector has witnessed considerable improvement during the last one year, owing to prudent and timely policies implemented by the incumbent government.

The initiatives include both administrative and technical measures, pertaining to system augmentation and upgradation. The main focus is aimed at making electricity affordable and available to all the people. The incumbent government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, launched a number of initiatives to reform the power sector, besides making it self-sustaining.

The Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project is being launched in the Lahore Electric Supply Company and Islamabad Electric Supply Company with the assistance of Asian Development Bank (ADB) to overcome the line losses problem and theft. The ADB has committed to provide $400 million for the AMI project which is now ready for execution. The Aerial Bundled Cable (ABC) is another project to control and pre-empt illegal connections through direct hooking, thereby controlling the menace of “kundas” (hooks) and reducing line losses in high-loss areas.

The Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) and Sukkur Electric Supply Company (SEPCO) have already started installation of Aerial Bundled Cables.

The most important step of the power division is drafting the Renewable Energy Policy 2019, and circulating it to all the stakeholders for their input. The policy will soon be brought before the cabinet for final approval. As per the renewable energy policy, it has been envisioned that by the year 2025, the share of renewable energy in the energy mix will be increased to 20% from the existing 4 % and by 2030 it will be further increased to 30 %.

Tariff rationalisation measures have also helped in reducing the rising trend in circular debt. Arrangement of Rs 200 billion from Islamic Sukuk, has also helped in paying power sector dues and replacing expensive debt. The Power Division has chalked out a comprehensive plan to curtail growth in circular debt. Accordingly, after June 2019, its growth is to be reduced from Rs 38 billion to Rs26 billion per month. By June next year, the circular debt growth will be brought down to Rs 8 billion per month, while by December 2020 it will be further brought down to zero.

The Power Division has been actively engaged, with different working groups of friendly countries, especially China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Central Asian Republics, for exploring avenues of investment in the power sector.

Due to improved recovery and effective anti-theft campaign, the number of feeders, facing load-shedding, due to losses, has decreased significantly. Even during peak summer where historically the losses were on the higher side and many feeders would come out of categories where zero load-shedding is implemented, this year due to continued watch and efforts the number has been increasing.

The anti-corruption and anti-theft drive has shown positive effects on recovery of outstanding dues as well. It has motivated the consumers to pay the bills in time. DISCOs recovery has shown an improvement of 1% since the launch of the campaign. A per the reforms plan, PESCO, Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO), Multan Electric Supply Company (MEPCO) and Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) will be further bifurcated to bring improvement in their performance.

Under investment plan in power distribution companies (DISCOs), length of transmission lines of various feeders would be reduced to 20 to 25 km which will not only help reduce lines losses, but also end the low voltage issue.

The transmission line is also being upgraded adding that arrangements had been finalized for the Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line.