*ISLAMABAD: Loadshedding may return to haunt consumers as losses have tripled from 2013 to reach Rs 360 billion, said Minister for Power Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, in a statement on Thursday. *
According to a press release issued by the minister, losses have decreased but a significant increase in the supply of electricity has resulted in electricity losses to rise to Rs 360 billion this year.
“Because of increase in the quantum of power generated, we will have to absorb Rs 360 billion annual losses despite 1.6 percent reduction in (system) losses,” read the statement.
As per a report in from an English daily, insiders stated that the power minister was setting the stage for greater loadshedding due to the government’s failure to tackle system losses and improve electricity bills.
Awais Leghari said that the cost of electricity theft could not be shifted to consumers hence other means would have to be adopted to ensure the losses were taken care of. He said that the economy of the country could not afford staggering losses of up to Rs 360 billion.
Without specifying as to what other means those would be, Mr Leghari spoke of cooperation from provincial government and electricity consumers to diminish losses.
For uninterrupted power supply, he urged consumers to get their meters installed, pay bills on time and point out electricity thieves to ensure uninterrupted power supply.
“If (system) losses and electricity theft are not controlled, we will have to unwillingly increase power cuts proportionately to areas with higher losses despite availability of surplus power,” he said.
He claimed that system losses had been reduced by 1.2 percent as compared to 2013 as it now stood at 17.8 percent (it was 19 percent in 2013).
He also claimed that power generation would reach 25,000 MW which was 69 percent more than it was in 2013.
Leghari said that the government would observe during the first or second week of March and then announce formally whether or not duration of loadshedding would be increased in certain areas of the country or not.