ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed officials concerned to minimise electricity and gas loadshedding and take strict legal action against power pilferers.

He issued these directions while chairing a meeting here at PM House on Wednesday, after receiving a briefing on overall electricity and gas network and distribution in the country. He was also apprised about electricity loadshedding schedule planned for the next four months.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi, Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed, Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali and other senior government officials.

The prime minister said, “Leakage from the system is unacceptable and measures on war footing should be taken to plug these loopholes.” He said the government has made stringent laws against electricity and gas theft to curb this menace.

During the briefing on electricity theft, PM was apprised that smart meters at 11 KV grids have been installed. The PM directed that electricity dues should be recovered on priority basis and a report in this regard be presented in a week. He also directed that action should be taken against heads of distribution companies who are falling short on performance.

PM Nawaz was apprised that country has a total gas network of 146,628 Km with 7,005,417 consumers. Out of the 2,715 mmcfd gas in the year 2012-13, 764 mmcfd was supplied to domestic consumers, 112 mmcfd to commercial consumers, 320 mmcfd to power sector, 89 mmcfd to fertiliser sector, 463 mmcfd to industry/captive sector, 274 mmcfd to CNG sector while 375 mmcfd went un-accounted. In addition 1,021 mmcfd was for dedicated power and fertiliser plants.

The PM was further apprised that un-accounted for gas (UFG) is calculated as the difference between total volumes purchased and sold to consumers by gas utility companies during a given fiscal year. It was informed that 30-40% of the total UFG is from leakages and same percentage from theft while 20-25 % occurs due to meter errors. In the year 2012-13, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) network had UFG of 210 mmcfd (12%) whereas Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGC) had 115 mmcfd (10%) of UFG in its network.

The prime minister was also apprised that various short-term measures such as theft control, pressure profiling, leak rectification and replacement of defective meters have been taken to control UFG. In addition, medium and long-term measures including segmentation of distribution network, pipeline rehabilitation, improvement of measurement accuracy and cathodic protection of steel network were being adopted.

The meeting was informed that some other measures include installation of Cyber door locks on meters of industrial and CNG consumers, connecting bulk & CNG customers through dedicated metered lines for monitoring and installation of bulk meters in no-go areas to quantify gas theft by non-customers. Discussions were also held on Gas (Theft Control & Recovery) Ordinance, which is used as law against gas theft.