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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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EditorialPower generation mess

Power generation mess

Finally, the government has caved into public anger and worked out some relief for consumers who were shocked after receiving inflated electricity bills. It has been announced that consumers using up to 200 electricity units will be exempted from paying the fuel adjustment charges (FAC). However, the U-turn will be unwelcome at the International Monetary Fund, which called for the price rise to help reduce the government’s budget deficit. An exorbitant increase was witnessed in the electricity bills during the current month due to the energy generation cost.

The use of costly furnace oil has resulted in an increase in electricity tariffs. The relevant power generation authorities are suffering from mismanaging as instead of using cheap fuels like coal and LNG, they have resorted to using furnace oil that costs high. Resultantly, the masses are bearing the brunt of this management. The shifting of the burden of mismanagement, line losses and revenue shortage to the masses is completely unjustified. Instead of creating trouble for the general public, the government should focus on rectifying problems related to power generation and distribution across the country. In the present age, electricity is the basic need of citizens and the government should provide it to citizens at affordable rates. After the increase in electricity cost, the production cost will also increase leading to more inflation in the country.

The imposition of surcharges and perpetual FAC on citizens, who regularly pay their utility bills, is a temporary and unjustified solution that does not obviate the recurrence of the problem of mismanagement. The government needs to treat the cause, not symptoms. Electricity suppliers, replicating their SOP regarding the common consumer, should devise a comprehensive strategy for eliminating all problems related to the power sector one by one. It is unfortunate that the masses pay for the inefficiency of government departments that fail to evolve an error-free system. Moreover, there is a small portion of influential departments and individuals that do not bother to pay their electricity bills. Why does the government fail to take action against defaulters? There is a need to rectify power distribution and recovery system instead of burdening those citizens who are paying their due charges on time. It would be hard to find an example anywhere in the world where citizens are forced to pay dues despite failures of the system. In order to meet line losses and end power theft, the government has to take some drastic steps.

The government needs to address the root causes by improving the recovery of utility bills. And the first step is to make all big defaulters – industries and government sectors – clear the outstanding amounts due to them. The day the system of payment is regulated – all utility bills to be paid on time and in full, whether the amount is Rs 1,000, Rs 100,000 or Rs 1,000,000 — a great deal of the woes of the power sector would be over.

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