ISLAMABAD - The Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday was informed that the country had been suffering Rs200 billion in electricity line losses annually.

The PAC meeting, chaired by Syed Khurshid Shah, reviewed the audit objections of the Ministry of Power Division for the year 2016-2017.

The committee was informed that the circular debt had once again touched Rs450 billion.

The PAC chairman criticised the government that it had claimed to end power outages in the country after paying Rs480 billion circular debt. On the other hand, the electricity price has now increased manifold, he said.

The committee chairman said that the concerned authorities had not been able to resolve matters of overbilling, power outages and other related issues.

Shah said that the incumbent government should resolve the issue of circular debt and discuss the matter at the federal government level.

PAC member Naveed Qamar said that around 90 per cent electricity bills were sent to consumers without meter reading and only by applying the formula of average.

Another PAC member Shafqat Mehmood raised the issue of late delivery of bills to the consumers.

“I am also victim of this practice as only two days before the deadline, the electricity bills are distributed to the houses,” he said.

A member, Raja Javed Ikhlas, from the government side remarked that the incumbent government was making all-out effort to end the power crisis in the country.

Power Division Secretary Yousuf Naseem informed the committee that the measures were being taken to overcome issues related to the energy crisis.

“An effective system for [addressing] consumer complaints will be activated soon,” he said.

About the smog issue in Punjab, Shah, while strongly criticising the Punjab government commented that the people of the area could become victims of tuberculosis and asthma.

“The coal-fired power plant in Sahiwal is not environment friendly as people in the vicinity will become victim of tuberculosis and asthma,” he said.

Sherry Rehman said that the coloured copy of documents especially graphs should be shared in the briefings to the committee, as it would help understand the numbers.

She said 80 per cent consumers had to face late payment fine of electricity bills in the country.

The committee meeting was attended by Mehmood Achakzai, Azra Fazal Pecheucho, Senator Sherry Rehman, Syed Naveed Qamar, Shafqat Mehmood and others.