Govt Wants to Name and Shame Electricity Thieves, Banning Travel and Banking

The federal government is set to escalate efforts against electricity thieves and defaulters, signaling a comprehensive crackdown that includes blocking bank transactions and imposing travel bans until outstanding dues are cleared.

To tackle the challenges associated with the rule of law, the government is intensifying its campaign against the ‘illegal spectrum,’ focusing not only on anti-smuggling measures but also on combating power theft, reported Business Recorder.

Power Distribution Companies (Discos) have managed to recover approximately Rs 50 billion, a mere 4.5 percent of the total recordable amount of Rs. 1.05 trillion, highlighting the magnitude of the issue.

Secretary Power revealed that Discos have levied detection charges exceeding Rs. 5 billion. The prevalent power theft, particularly in the expansive Indus Plain areas, is linked to cooling loads and a sense of local impunity.

As winter approaches, there are concerns that the monthly payoff from the anti-theft campaign may decrease, as the incentive for theft diminishes.

In the ongoing efforts, Discos have taken action, arresting 29,541 delinquent consumers and 20 employees, while suspending an additional 272 employees, including officers, as of November.

There is a pressing need for concrete measures and a “whole of government” approach, warning that without intervention, losses could soar by Rs. 589 billion.

The systemized nature of electricity theft, fueled by existing loopholes, the absence of deterrent measures, and collusion among government officials, is contributing to the worsening situation.

In response, some quarters within the government advocate for a comprehensive review of the ongoing campaign, proposing new measures by the Ministry of Interior.

Suggestions include introducing innovative approaches, implementing stringent measures against employees involved in malpractices, sharing CNICs of defaulters with the Ministry of Interior to block bank transactions and impose travel bans, and conducting a ‘name and shame’ campaign in coordination with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Published by
M. Bilal Farooq