Electric Avenue: Sky high bills getting higher

Published: December 23, 2010

What I pay for electricity of my apartment is almost half the rent itself. There is only one room, with a fan and two tube-lights, other than that I only have a laptop, a toaster, a microwave oven and a 0.75-ton split air-conditioner.

As if the price of electricity is not high enough, donor agencies usually demand that the government address inter-corporate debt which has grown to Rs426 billion.

And no matter how much money the government tries to inject into the system to get it running again, making it sustainable will require huge increases in electricity prices as well as controlling line losses. They would also need to deal with corruption and their own officials helping people use electricity for free.

According to the government’s business plan, they will increase the power tariffs by 16 per cent (2 per cent monthly) which will fetch Rs31 billion till June next year.

This is a part of the government’s three-tier strategy which is being prepared to address power sector issues, envisaging addressing issues like inter-corporate debt (known as circular debt), full recovery of electricity generation cost and future prospects of enhancing the efficiency of power generation and distribution companies.

No matter how I look at the situation, I simply cannot foresee the government doing anything to control its line losses; neither do I see them doing anything to curb corruption. It seems like increasing electricity prices will be the only way to go about dealing with their line losses.

This has been the way to do things up until now. We all know that every government that has come into power has generally increased electricity prices. The price of petrol is becoming an increasingly heavy burden on us as well.

The government is forced to keep on building these normal power plants instead because developed countries are willing to give us pittances to develop renewable energy resources but they are not willing to give us the technology to build nuclear power plants. Though one can hardly blame them given our circumstances.

omair.zeeshan

Omair Zeeshan

Corporate Account Manager by day and photographer by night. He can be found on Twitter @OmairZeeshan

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/2534/whose-country-is-this-anyway-not-the-tax-payers/ Syed Nadir El-Edroos

    There is the other side of the coin though. The government is not going to do much, especially when corpratizied entities are supposedly independent, so the responsibility passes on to them.

    However, though we have had 4 years of 12-14 hours of load shedding, there has been little effort to improve home insulation, weatherizing buildings, promoting renewable energy or reducing waste in energy use. Recommend

  • Ali Hassan

    Very good piece.
    Half of the country pays huge bills and half of the country steals electricity – meter slowdowns, kundas, illegal connections etc, (and then the normal line transmission losses).
    The current situation is a direct result of corruption in these giant companies for over 3-4 decades.
    I am all in support of independence and privatization.Recommend

  • Moazzam Salim

    …and do not forget those hundreds of thousands of WAPDA employees who get free or near free electricity. It is ironic that this practice continues when they are getting salaries as per market rates. That burden is also transferred to the “paying consumers” of electricity. Recommend

  • Interconnect

    The three comments well endorse the situation. Pakistan is the country with every home, office, factory, school as a power generating unit. As back up power we use inverters, generators, and nothing in renewables as wind, solar despite their competetive level today. KESC stopped load management in some previleged areas. I suggest every consumer of WAPDA, KESC should submit his current bill confirmation for payment, a one line declaration for not stealing electricity, digital signatures and email to NEPRA. In principal the consumer of all utilities are entitled to be immune from load management. Suggest if NADRA please promote/propagate this to consumers through out Pakistan, to bring the utilities back to profit. As part of governanace this will be a great plus for them to have enough liquidity for the companies to operate profitable. Recommend

  • Rizwan

    for the past 10 months i have been recieving 500/ month and this month alone i recived 2500 PKR
    may be wapda’s record keeping system is out of order :D Recommend

  • parvez

    Nice article. The way I see it is that KESC or WAPDA are really not interested in line losses (kunda) or corruption because for them its “money in their pockets for free” with the blame put on the consumer and the short fall is made up by increasing the electric tariff and thus burdening the paying customer.
    When you talk of billions of rupees being involved and siphoned off in this way one can understand why all involved will do their best to keep it this wayRecommend

  • naseer hussain

    The whole country is in dooldrum. Wapda steals and blames the thieves. Who are these thieves and who is supposed to stop them? the poor man sleeping on the footpath or the big thief sitting in his cozy palaces scolding the hapless.Recommend

  • Zaid

    For all WAPDA employees, instead of giving them free electricity which they really abuse, just monetized their salary. You can give them money instead of free electricity, I am sure this will make significant difference for WAPDA employees.

    Line losses is a social corruption. Many of us doing the same, so we should discourage this at home, street, colony, villages, city, province and at National Level. Its not simple, but still we will see some improvements. Increasing tariff is no solution, because government organizations are not paying the bills as well which increase the circular debt. At the end of day, its common people who has to subsidize it. Recommend