ISLAMABAD - The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) informed the Senate body on Tuesday that power worth Rs 40 billion was stolen every year due to the continued malpractices in power distribution companies (Discos) while an amount of Rs 549 billion of power distribution companies had been stuck on different accounts.

While briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Water and Power chaired by Zahid Khan, Acting Chairman NEPRA Khawaja Naeem told that power theft was the major factor in power distribution companies that had paralyzed the whole energy chain.

He maintained that power distribution companies had failed to recover Rs 70 billion of power bills every year. He said that government had been giving Rs 394 billion subsidy per annum in power sector.

He disclosed that mark up of power firms had swelled to Rs 45 billion while major amount of Rs 80 billion had been stuck on account of court orders in the country.

"This is a major reason behind circular debt and total revenue requirement of power sector was Rs 988 billion," he said adding that the Ministry of Water and Power has never bothered to call NEPRA to seek input in this regard.

The Senate body was also informed that an amount of Rs 549 billion of power distribution companies had been stuck on different accounts. The Senate body directed the ministry to hold a meeting with NEPRA in details to take appropriate action to recover the dues from different departments. Finance ministry officials said that government would provide Rs 15 billion amount on account of subsidy in power sector in ongoing month of June 2013.

The committee also reiterated its stance to ensure equal load shedding across the country and directed concerned officials to take initiative in this regard. It asked the officials not to bow before any pressure in implementing equal load shedding across the country. 

The committee directed the Secretary Water and Power to hold a meeting with the minister and prepare a strategy to remove the VIP culture of uninterrupted power supply from the country. Chairman of the committee Senator Zahid Khan said that the Ministry of Water and Power had given wrong figures about the demand and supply and wrong percentage resulted into hours long load shedding leading to sufferings for the masses. He said that if load shedding was being carried out in parliament lodges, then why not in Supreme Court and Prime Minister House should be treated in the same way. The Committee also recommended to the officials of the ministry of water and power to foster promotions in attached departments of the ministry and complete this process before June 20.

The committee was informed that three megawatt power was being provided to the US embassy. The committee directed the ministry to hold consultation with the Foreign office to devise mechanism of load shedding for diplomatic enclave also.