Prime Minister Sharif Cracks Down on Electricity Overbilling

Prime Minister Sharif Cracks Down on Electricity Overbilling

Islamabad, July 6, 2024 – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has launched a forceful crackdown on officials responsible for inflated electricity bills.

The directive was issued during a high-level meeting held in Islamabad on Saturday, attended by key government figures, including Power Minister Sardar Awais Ahmed Leghari and Information Minister Attaullah Tarar.

“These inflated bills are a burden on the people, and such practices will not be tolerated,” declared Prime Minister Sharif. He emphasized the urgency of the situation and directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to initiate a thorough investigation. The investigation aims to identify officials who have been adding excess units to electricity bills, resulting in unjustified overbilling. The Prime Minister asserted that those found culpable would face suspension and “strict action,” describing them as “enemies of the people.”

This directive comes amid growing concerns about the power sector’s inefficiencies and the financial strain on citizens. On Friday, a Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Sharif, revealed a troubling rise in the power sector’s circular debt, which had reached a staggering Rs2,655 billion by May 2024. The CCoE also addressed the chronic inefficiencies within electricity distribution companies (DISCOs), which contribute significantly to the sector’s problems.

To combat these issues, the committee approved the establishment of a dedicated support unit for DISCOs. This unit, set to operate for two years, will initially focus on the Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO). Its primary objectives are to enhance overall efficiency, curb electricity theft, and ensure timely collection of bills. The support unit will also work on implementing best practices to improve the operational performance of DISCOs, thereby reducing losses and enhancing service delivery.

The Prime Minister’s directive and the establishment of the DISCO support unit signal the government’s commitment to addressing the challenges plaguing the power sector. These measures aim to provide relief to citizens burdened by inflated bills while promoting greater accountability and efficiency within the system. By taking these steps, the government seeks to restore public trust and ensure that the power sector operates in a more transparent and fair manner.

As Pakistan grapples with its energy challenges, the proactive approach taken by Prime Minister Sharif’s administration is expected to bring much-needed reforms. The focus on accountability and efficiency within the power sector underscores the government’s resolve to protect consumers and promote sustainable development in the country.