Rs380b Lost To Power Theft Within A Year, NA Told

Rs380b Lost To Power Theft Within A Year, NA Told
As the country is struggling to get a bailout tranche from the IMF, internally, there's no respite in power theft, with the 'kunda' system causing losses of Rs230 billion to the exchequer in a span of a year.

The term 'kunda' refers to electricity theft and is commonplace. Being a 'parallel' power supply system, it has been running for years in different parts of the country.

The word 'kunda' is applied for all power connections acquired through any means other than the legal one.

In Monday's National Assembly session, Minister for Energy Khurram Dastagir said that the country's total circular debt till Dec 2022 is Rs2,536 billion while the circular debt for this year is Rs343 billion. He shared with the House that line losses have also touched the mark of Rs113 billion.

The minister added that legislation will be carried out to curb power theft across the country, which will essentially make it a crime.

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Secretary Power Division Rashid Langrial told the NA Standing Committee on energy (power division) that of the Rs380 billion of theft this year, Rs200 billion were incurred from kunda and Rs80 billion via metres etc.

The committee was further apprised that due to the increase in power tariff, it is estimated that next year, the theft amount will reach Rs520 billion.

Around two months ago, it was also shared in parliamentary committee that the power theft amounted to Rs380 billion in the ongoing fiscal year, with estimates it will reach Rs520 billion next year.

It may be noted that in 2013, it was declared in the Senate that Pakistan has lost Rs90 billion (equivalent to ₨149.1 billion in 2021) in the last five years owing to electricity theft and line losses.

It is yet to be seen if the forthcoming legislation will have a strong impact on the practice of power theft.