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Govt outsources electricity bill collection to NAB

The government has decided to outsource the collection of electricity bills to the National Accountability Bureau within a month following reports that recovery of electricity bills at the level of distribution feeders had fallen to less than 60 percent, official sources said.

The decision was taken in a review meeting of distribution companies held on Thursday under the chairmanship of the Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar. In attendance were Secretary Water and Power Zafar Mahmood, Special Secretary Water and Power Himayatullah Khan, chief executive officers of all distribution companies and senior officials of the ministry, the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) and Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB).

According to the participants, the National Accountability Bureau would deal with defaulters’ cases and with officialsproviding electricity supply to unscrupulous elements. Sources quoted Ch Mukhtar as saying that defaulters would not be allowed to use electricity until they settled their bills.

The data for billing and collection for the first two months of FY 2013 were discussed and CEOs of distribution companies were given targets for the current financial year. It was also decided that no distribution company officer would have the power to allow payment in installments and power supply would be disconnected forthwith on non-payment.

Distribution companies are to continue their special recovery drive whereby all defaulting premises are to be disconnected and reconnection will only be allowed after full clearance of dues. All field officers and other functionaries of distribution companies, it was decided, would be accountable for non-recovery, power theft and line losses. Where necessary, officials would be proceeded against under the efficiency and disciplinary rules.

Distribution companies have been asked to submit a report at the next meeting regarding action taken against such officials. They have been also been directed to finalise all enquiries pending against officials in any matter.

Further, it was decided that rewards would be given to the best performing officers who met the recovery targets and reduction in line losses.

The list of defaulters along with addresses which had previously been disconnected or were to be disconnected due to default will be released to the media and placed on the relevant distribution company’s website, sources said.

The meeting reviewed the free distribution of 30 million CFLs programme and asked concerned officials to ensure its early distribution among the domestic consumers.

Earlier, a presentation was given by the programme manager who said that consumers would save Rs300 in electricity bills per bulb per year. A detailed presentation was also given by the AEDB on the conversion of five million UPS to solar power. The project is expected to conserve up to 500MW of energy and help reduce electricity bills.

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