While Sahiwal stands out with an impressive 99 percent utility charge recovery rate, four districts in Punjab have been identified with the highest power theft and low recovery rates, where the non-recovery of electricity exceeds one-tenth of utility provided

The four districts mapped with the highest power theft include Kasur with a power theft/non-recovery rate of 16 percent, followed by Rajanpur at 14 percent, Okara at 13 percent, and Rahim Yar Khan at 12 percent. In Sahiwal, this ratio is only 1 percent.

Federal Secretary for Power, Rashid Mahmood Langrial, shared the map through his ‘X’ handle. The mapping has been done based on the data for the fiscal year 2022-23.

Secretary Langrial stated, “In FY2022-23, we collected Rs2319 billion and lost Rs134 billion in Punjab. Of the 134 billion, we lost more than half (69 billion) in four districts. Of the 2319 billion, we collected more than half (1211 billion) from six districts.”

According to the map, the highest collections were from Lahore with Rs436 billion, followed by Faisalabad with Rs251 billion, Rawalpindi with Rs145 billion, Gujranwala with Rs140 billion, Sheikhupura with Rs131 billion, and Multan with Rs108 billion.

The Power Division has mapped all these districts of the most populous province, where the theft/non-recovery rate in seven districts stands at three percent. These include Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Layyah, and Multan.

Six districts are maintaining a four percent non-recovery rate. These include Khushab, Mandi Bahauddin, Narowal, Toba Tek Singh, Bahawalnagar, and Bahawalpur. In Gujrat and Chakwal, the theft ratio is 5 percent each.

In Lahore, Attock, Jhelum, Jhang, Nankana Sahab, Khanewal, and Muzaffargarh, the power theft ratio is six percent each. Likewise, in Mianwali, Hafizabad, Vehari, Lodhran, and Dera Ghazi Khan, the theft/non-recovery rate is seven percent. In Sheikhupura and Pak Pattan, it is eight percent, and nine percent in Bhakkar.

It is to be noted that since the start of the federal government’s campaign against power theft, Rs198.4 billion has been recovered. The primary goal is to deter power theft and promote timely bill payments, the secretary Power Division has said.

Major defaulters have been imprisoned as a result, reshaping public attitudes towards unpaid electricity usage. The campaign is ongoing, with improvements expected by October 15. The CEO of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) was dismissed, and several employees were arrested or suspended. Over 28,000 FIRs were filed in the past month, resulting in nearly 14,000 arrests across all state-run power distribution companies. Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) had the highest number of FIRs and arrests. Recovery figures from various companies are notable, with Lesco leading at Rs4.77 billion.

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