LAHORE – The Lahore Electric Supply Company Board of Directors' chairman has admitted that the company sends inflated bills to its 3.7 million consumers to cover line-losses.

Dr Musadik Malik, who is also spokesman to the prime minister of Pakistan, made the confession at a ceremony at a hotel, where 85 newly inducted SDOs pledged not to involve themselves in corruption.

The Lesco CEO Qaidar Zaman’s face fell when the BoD chairman exposed the company in the presence of mediapersons and Lesco operatives.

Lesco covers Lahore, Sherikhupura, Okara and Kasur’s urban and rural areas. In Lahore alone, about 100,000 consumers add up to its network every year.

To plug over-billing, Dr Malik also announced to introduce electricity bills with the pictures of units consumed in next three months. He said the smart meter system will be fictional soon.

“The Lesco over-stated its profit by Rs9 billion and Rs5 billion during past two financial years respectively to show its performance,” he disclosed.

The out-spoken chairman unveiled that the Lesco’s exact line losses were around 19 to 22 per cent against the official claim of 11 per cent.

In presence of Lesco CEO and members of the BoD including Ibne Hassan, Farooq Iftikhar, Salman Akhtar and others, he vowed bring transparency in the company.

“We board members will not let it happen in next. We pledge to stop this corruption and make all efforts to give relief to the consumers. We will quit from the board if we could not stop it,” he pledged along with other members following an oath by the all fresh engineers.

“We take oath that we will not involve in any kind of corruption and not let it happen under us,” vowed the young SDOs whom Dr Malik termed the real face of the company and nation.

The young officers on occasion also give suggestions to improve the Lesco performance. They complained about shortage of the staff especially for maintenance work, and meter readers. They said they face political pressure and reluctance of police and security issues to act against power theft. Lesco BoD and CEO ensured them all their help to create better work environment for them.

The Lesco and other power distribution companies are in a practice of sending inflated electricity bills to consumers to hide their line losses and theft which is mainly held in connivance of company’s staff. They most term the over-billing as clerical mistake.

A recent study conducted by Lesco BoD concluded that the company staff was involved in systematic and widespread exercise of over-billing, which helps the management in balancing out its huge distribution losses, causing enormous financial loss and injustice to power consumers. Sources said the Lesco charges two months bills in excess every year.

The Lesco BoD chairman on occasion announced to launch a new website from next week where every consumer could check the load shedding duration at feeder, line-losses and other informative data. He said the new website will be directly get date from smart meters to main server and updated it on website.

“The website will give exact picture of the daily load shedding and line losses data. It will tell you duration of power shutdown at your feeder and at where Shahbaz Sharif lives. No one would be able to complain about discrimination in load shedding,” he held.