LAHORE – Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) Chief Executive Officer Sharafat Ali Sial said on Monday that the Punjab government owed Rs5 billion in electricity bills and the company would be forced to disconnect power supply of government offices if the provincial government failed to pay this amount.

Addressing a press conference at the Lesco Head office, Sial said besides the government, certain private departments were also defaulters of millions of rupees and lists had been prepared in this regard. He stressed that electricity theft and overbilling would not be tolerated. If the Lesco staff was found involved, strict action would also be taken against them, the CEO warned.

“We have already disconnected the power supply of Ittefaq Foundry because the firm is a defaulter,” said Sial, adding that Lesco was not involved in loadshedding. “Lesco does not generate power. It is only a distribution company having no role in loadshedding,” he maintained.

The Lesco CEO explained the difference between power shutdown and loadshedding. “Loadshedding is scheduled by Wapda, while shutdown is caused by repair or maintenance of the supply system,” he added.

Sial said the defaulter departments would have to pay their current electricity dues at all costs, while arrears could be negotiated. “Wasa is a major defaulter with outstanding dues of Rs1.268 billion and Lesco will soon start disconnecting power supply of its offices instead of tubewells, which are a source of water for the general public,” he maintained.

The CEO viewed that the ongoing development work in the City was responsible for power shutdowns. Giving a breakup of the defaulted amounts, he said the federal government owed a total amount of Rs750.59 million, of which Rs571.46 million were outstanding against the federal government, Rs128.47 against autonomous bodies under the federal government and Rs50 .66 million against local bodies under the federal government.

“The Punjab government owes Rs5.131 billion, of which Rs742.61 million are outstanding against the provincial government, Rs1.538 billion against autonomous bodies under the provincial government and Rs2.85 billion against local bodies under the provincial government. The total amount outstanding against the federal and provincial governments is Rs5.882 billion.”