Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Non-payment of dues: Power crisis deepens in Balochistan as Qesco curtails supply

By Shezad Baloch

January 20, 2015

Balochistan – excluding Quetta – is witnessing 20 to 22 hours of load-shedding. PHOTO: FILE

QUETTA: Balochistan’s electricity crisis deepened on Monday after Quetta Electricity Supply Company (Qesco) increased load-shedding hours due to slow recovery of overdue bills.

Electricity is available only for four to six hours a day in all district headquarters of Balochistan. In more remote areas of the province, power outages can last for up to 22 hours.

According to a Qesco official, the company increased the power cuts on the directives of the water and power ministry following the accumulation of around Rs132 billion in outstanding dues and low recovery from consumers.

He said out of Rs132 billion, the agriculture-consumers alone owe Rs115 billion.

Qesco spokesperson said the provincial government departments owe Qesco around Rs8 billion, while the federal government departments owe the company up to Rs745 million.

“Moreover, the arrears of Rs8 billion is outstanding against domestic, commercial and other consumers in the province,” he added. To protest against the prolonged outages, Zamindar Action Committee (ZAC) – a trade union comprising growers and landlords –took out a procession in Quetta on Monday. The protesters, including around 500 growers and farmers, raised slogans against the provincial government for not addressing the issue of power cuts.

“The massive load-shedding is destroying the crops,” said the ZAC’s Secretary General Abdul Rehman.
He said Balochistan – excluding Quetta – is witnessing a 20 to 22 hours long load-shedding
According to the ZAC, there are round 30,000 tube wells in Balochistan and all of them are affected by the power cuts.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2015.

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