Govt to Empower Grade-17 Officers of DISCOs to File FIRs Against Electricity Thieves

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Power was held in Islamabad today under the chairmanship of Senator Saifullah Abro, where members discussed a crucial government initiative aimed at tackling electricity theft.

Additional Secretary of the Power Division briefed the committee that a new ordinance is being prepared that would allow registration of First Information Reports (FIRs) on the application of Grade-17 officers of Distribution Companies (DISCOs).

The secretary provided insights into the proposed ordinance, highlighting that it would empower grade 17 officers within DISCOs to get FIRs registered. He added that thus far, the anti-power theft campaign has successfully collected Rs. 24 billion and led to the removal/transfer of multiple officials and officers from their positions.

One notable concern raised during the meeting was the stark difference between the electricity supplied and the actual recovery, with billions of rupees worth of electricity being supplied to various areas while the recovery remains low. It was noted that Turbat was provided electricity worth Rs. 1 billion per month, but recovery only amounted to Rs. 6 million. Punjab’s Kasur was identified as the district with the highest incidence of power theft.

The committee expressed its concerns regarding the ongoing issue of electricity theft and urged a comprehensive crackdown. However, there were reports of touts benefiting from the recovery campaign, as well as allegations that the police and DISCOs staff were involved in facilitating theft by accepting bribes. The Power Division acknowledged that it currently had no solution to this problem.

The National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) faced scrutiny during the meeting, specifically concerning alleged illegal contracts related to the construction of the Dasu Transmission Line. The committee directed the NTDC to provide records of the relevant board meeting but was met with resistance. In response, the committee decided to consider bringing a privilege motion against the NTDC board.

Senator Dilawar Khan proposed sending the matter to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and the NTDC board was summoned to the next meeting to address the committee’s concerns.

The meeting concluded with Senator Bahramand Tangi suggesting that a privilege motion should be directed solely against the NTDC board members, emphasizing the need for transparency in the Dasu Transmission Line contracts. The Additional Secretary apologized for the delay in providing records from NTDC and acknowledged a lack of transparency in the contracts.

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