Pakistan's electricity theft, system losses estimated at Rs80b

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan is losing Rs80 billion annually on account of electricity theft and system losses in the power sector. A day long workshop here yesterday called upon the government to reduce power losses to greatly overcome the growing power crisis in the country.

By A Correspondent

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Thu 5 Apr 2007, 8:31 AM

Last updated: Tue 14 Nov 2023, 4:01 PM

Some of the participants wondered why the power utilities and distribution companies have not been able to reduce their system losses and that the government should look into the issue seriously.

The workshop also recommended for mandatory display of energy efficiency labels on electric equipment, subsidising energy efficient equipment, a proper policy on energy saving devices. They also discussed introducing time of day metres for all the sectors of consumers thereby fixing higher charges for peak hours and less in off-peak use

It also called for introducing a system of punishing consumers for use of low-quality electrical material and equipment as a tool for energy conservation to overcome the growing power crisis in the country.

This is one of the many proposals the policy makers are considering at the moment. If approved, this would need appointment of new workforce on the pattern of electricity inspectors to check consumer premises to ensure quality of wire, equipment and materials to reduce system losses, even though the consumers pay for these losses.

This was the gist of a day-long workshop in which the ministries, the power regulator and the power distributors agreed that conservation and demand side energy management was the only solution to an immediate energy crisis arising out of more than 2,000mw of electricity supply shortage this summer. They recommended a long list of measures for conservation and demand side energy management - ranging from two weekly holidays to early closure of commercial activities. But most of their recommendations were focused on energy savings from the point distribution companies supply electricity to consumers, rather than from policy making to delivery point except energy loss reduction programme.

The workshop "Conservation of Energy and Demand side management" was organised by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and attended by ministries of water and power, petroleum and natural resources, National Energy Conservation Centre (Enercon), Pakistan Engineering Council and all power distribution companies participated. There was no representation from the planning commission.

A representative of the GTZ of Germany and an official of a distribution company Ibrahim Khattak asked the policy makers to show on televisions and in real life top government functionaries like the prime minister and his ministers conserving energy who enjoyed free electricity that would send a positive signal to the people.

Chairman National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) Lt. Gen. (retd) Saeed-uz-Zafar said two weekly holidays, apart of saving a lot of energy, could be a very good alternative to early closure of commercial activities to make up for reduction in commercial hours. He said a committee comprising distribution companies, Nepra and other related agencies would make recommendations to the government on the subject.

Managing director of Enercon Pervez Tahir told the workshop that the country would be facing electricity shortage of more than 2000mw this summer and everybody should get ready to share it. Asked as to why the government agencies have not been able to do supply side management to overcome shortage instead of suppressing demand, Tahir said the government agencies were asking for efficient use of energy which was not demand suppression.

Secretary water and power Ashfaq Mehmood said a combination of house keeping measures besides options like pricing as a tool to demand side management, education and awareness could be considered to overcome the shortage. He said the government did not support subsidising energy saving devices and it should be seen by the consumers as a business benefit. He did not comment on supply side measures to overcome shortage.

While the participants exchanged views on conservation, some of them on the sidelines also discussed that Chairman of Wapda who practically heads distribution and generation companies of Wapda chartered a special plan from Lahore to reach Islamabad the same day to meet secretary water and power.

They proposed that consumers should be made through the electricity metres to use good quality cables and equipments and replace them after some time because a lot of energy was lost by old cables and equipment. This, they said, be done by re- introducing electricity test certificates before new connections — a practice the Wapda's military management had done away with on the grounds that it encouraged corruption. The workshop recommended that energy advisors should be appointed to convince consumers about conservations.

More news from Business