The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Friday expressed concern over collection of Pakistan Television (PTV) fee through electricity bills, saying it was not the right approach.
This was stated by Nepra Chairman Tauseef H. Farooqui while presiding over a public hearing on the issue of overbilling and loadshedding in areas of Lahore and Multan electricity distribution companies (Discos).
He was asked by a participant if the PTV fee collection was the job of the Discos and they should do this.
“This is not the right approach,” said Mr Farooqui, adding that “the regulator has conveyed its concerns on the issue of tax collection to the appropriate government forums”.
“We think this is not the right approach, but this is a government decision and we think power companies should just do their own work,” he said.
Multan official complains of political interference in transfers, postings
During the course of hearing, the Chief Executive Officer of Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco), Chaudhry Tahir Mahmood, alleged political interference in matters relating to transfer and posting of officials.
He was referring to a recent meeting presided over by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi which expressed concern over the performance of Mepco.
“Most of the complaints pertain to transfer and postings” which he could not entertain because of a ban imposed by the power division on such changes, he said. However, he said, as far as the overall performance of the company was concerned, the management was ready to provide all data to Nepra for its analysis. The data was also available in the system, he added
The managements of both Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) and Mepco claimed that they were carrying out loadshedding only on high-loss feeders as per the government policy and there was no unannounced loadshedding or overbilling in their Discos.
The Chief Executive Officer of Lesco, Mujahid Chattha, asserted that words like loadshedding and overbilling were being misinterpreted. He said that the consumers, who were sent deduction bills, claimed these as overbilling. Likewise, he said, when the power supply was switched off for some time to rectify local faults due to hailstorm, people portrayed it to be loadshedding.
He claimed that he was holding e-kacheries every week for a few hours and had received only 1,300 complaints of over-billing from a consumer base of 50 million.
In reply to a question about less electricity drawdown against allocation, Mr Chattha said the company had to draw PTV fee through electricity as per demand and not in accordance with the allocated quota.
The general manager of the National Power Control Centre (NPCC) agreed that a small amount of quota was allocated over and above the demand of a Disco to utilise it in case of high demand.
The Lesco CEO said the company had established 10 new 132kV grid stations to stabilise the system, in addition to installation of 16 new transformers. Besides, he added, Lesco had also installed 100-kilometre transmission lines and upgraded and re-conducted 50 kilometers of 132kV transmission lines.
“There is no constraint in Lesco’s system,” he claimed, adding that the company was meeting the required demand of its consumers of about 4,400MW. Loadshedding, he said, was being done on 31 feeders which, he asserted, inflicted losses of 40-60 per cent.
He said the feeders with less than 10pc losses were exempt from loadshedding and the company’s losses had been reduced from 13.5pc to 12.4pc.
The Nepra chairman and members appreciated the performance of Lesco. Member Sindh Rafique Ahmad Shaikh sought guidance from the Lesco CEO to improve the performance of Sindh-based Discos.
Originally published at Dawn