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Saturday, February 17, 2024

Anti-Power Theft Crackdown Yields Over Rs55 Billion Recovery

Breaking down the nationwide initiative's impact, the Power Division disclosed that a commendable Rs55 billion has been successfully recovered.

In an impressive move to combat power theft, the Pakistani government’s proactive initiative is delivering tangible results. Statistics reveal that from September 7 to October 31, a substantial Rs34 billion was recovered, leading to the arrest of 125,142 individuals across the country.

Notably, losses due to electricity theft saw a marked reduction of Rs12 billion from September to October 2023. The momentum continued into November, with 14,769 arrests and a further recovery of Rs36.5 billion.

During the same period, specific cities faced intensified scrutiny. Islamabad saw over 1,990 arrests, resulting in a recovery of Rs175 million. Meanwhile, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, and Multan collectively witnessed 1,617 arrests, leading to a recovery of Rs1.439 billion.

The crackdown extended to Peshawar, Hyderabad, Sukkur, and Quetta, where 121 individuals were apprehended, contributing to a staggering recovery of Rs5.52 billion. As the crackdown unfolds, institutions remain committed to curbing electricity theft, signaling a determined effort to restore integrity to the power distribution network.

Power Division Unveils Over Rs55 Billion Recovery, 29,561 Arrests

Breaking down the nationwide initiative’s impact, the Power Division disclosed that a commendable Rs55 billion has been successfully recovered. Simultaneously, law enforcement agencies apprehended 29,561 individuals, including 20 employees from various electricity companies involved in power theft.

Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) spearheads the recovery efforts, reclaiming over Rs10 billion. Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) closely follows, securing the second position with a substantial recovery of Rs9 billion.

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In a noteworthy development, 272 officers from electricity companies faced suspension for their alleged involvement in power theft, underscoring the depth of the issue within the sector.

The comprehensive crackdown comes as part of the caretaker government’s strategy to minimize losses in the power sector and tackle the persistent challenge of circular debt. The International Monetary Fund’s strong recommendation to address circular debt aligns with Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to fortify its power infrastructure.

Caretaker Government’s Commitment to Minimizing Power Losses

The ongoing nationwide crackdown on power theft gained momentum earlier this year in response to public protests over inflated electricity bills. The crisis prompted a comprehensive initiative to identify and address the root causes, with electricity theft being a significant contributor.

According to Power Division data, electricity theft inflicted a staggering loss of Rs500 billion on the national exchequer, exacerbating the circular debt predicament that has long plagued the power grid system.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, expressing satisfaction with the results, vowed continued support for the campaign against power theft. “My government will continue to support this campaign with more vigor so that our annual losses can be further minimized,” he declared.

The ongoing crackdown signals a pivotal moment in the government’s commitment to ensuring transparency, curbing losses, and stabilizing the power sector, aligning with broader economic goals and international recommendations.