K-Electric, formerly KESC has issued a press statement in which the utility has rebutted some allegations laid out by NEPRA’s official.
Statement added that the NEPRA rules and regulations allow distribution companies to take all legal measures/actions against defaulting consumers for recovery of outstanding dues. It also added that there is no specific provisions in the law where it states that utility companies cannot disconnect PMTs where paying consumers barely exist! Instead, Power Policy 2013 announced by GOP clearly allows such actions against defaulting consumers. It is pertinent to mention that a major cause of this circular debt’s recurrence is due to electricity theft and non-payment by defaulters.
Giving details the statement said that in a city like Karachi where the law and order situation is quite shaky, it is not easy for the power utility to recover its dues. Spokesman KE said, “People think that if out of 10 customers only 4 are defaulters KE disconnects the PMT which stops supply to the whole lot, but such is not the case. We disconnect the PMT’s supply only when the defaulters outgrow the loyal customers by a huge margin, and the losses and the recovery ratio hit rock-bottom. There are a number of PMTs, where the paying consumer ratio is barely in single digit and hence calls for aggressive disconnection drives. Such disconnections have also worked in favor of the residents as they realize the consequences of electricity theft. This has also helped Very High-Loss areas convert to High-Loss Areas whereas Medium-Loss areas have turned into Low-Loss areas, which again helps the consumers on a whole.
KE before disconnecting the PMT sends endless notices to these defaulting customers, sets up a camp in the vicinity where discounts and easy installment packages are offered to the defaulters. The area representative is also contacted so that an awareness campaign could be commenced. Sadly, in some cases, people still don’t pay their bills and then resort to violence and road-blocks after their electricity supply is disconnected. However, in other parts of the country, no such notices are sent and neither is any camps established, and electricity is cut for the residents. It is important to highlight that most reputable institutes in Pakistan such as the SBP appreciated KE’s policies on theft reduction and GOP also admitted and adopted these policies country-wide.
State Minister For Water & Power time and time again threatens to disconnect the whole Feeder, which has an average of 25-30 PMTs on it, if some people don’t pay. Disconnecting a whole feeder for one defaulting PMT is far worse than what KE has been doing. In areas of high-loss or very high losses where majority of the residents do not pay electricity bills, it is not feasible for the utility companies to individually visit each defaulter and cut off their supply. On the other hand loyal customers also suffer as overloaded PMTs lead to prolonged power breakdowns.
Spokesman KE added, “KE has been able to convince defaulters and electricity-thieves into accepting installment payment plans and discounted rates after the camps are set up and defaulters are contacted. KE has been installing Low-cost meters through a One-Stop Shop in underprivileged areas of Karachi, where electricity theft had been common. That has also bore fruit as losses have been curbed in such High-Loss and Very-High Loss areas”.
SOURCE: PRESS RELEASE