ISLAMABAD: Power Division Secretary Rashid Langrial declared on Sunday that the free electricity provision for grade 17 and higher officers of power distribution companies (Discos) will be discontinued.

Secretary Langrial stated during a press conference in Islamabad on a variety of power-related matters that a summary of the decision will be issued soon.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) suggested in July that all government executives and workers in grades 16-22 be denied free power.

Furthermore, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar said today (Sunday) that an emergency meeting will be held at the Prime Minister’s House to examine the problem of rising power costs.

Power price hikes sparked national protests, especially in Karachi, Rawalpindi, Multan, Gujranwala, and Peshawar. Demonstrators had set fire to their electricity bills, stopped highways, and surrounded power distributors’ offices in order to seek relief for the people.

During the press conference, Secretary Langrial again addressed the subject of power system weaknesses, stating that they must be remedied.

He also brought up the issue of power theft and circular debt, which totals Rs2,300 billion.

electricity sector officials present at the news conference also discussed electricity theft, which is estimated to be worth Rs250 billion in the country.

“Net metering is a source of increasing capacity payments, but it will have to be terminated at some point,” authorities added.

The officials also addressed the problem of growing electricity costs, opining that the main cause for inflated power rates was the local currency’s ongoing devaluation against the US dollar.

The audit paras connected to the Power Division of the Ministry of Energy for the fiscal years 2020-21 and 2021-22 were considered during the PAC meeting in July.

The committee voiced its severe displeasure with the continuation of free energy supply to Wapda officials and agreed to write a letter to the prime minister on the subject, recommending that the free facility be discontinued for all officers in grades 16-22.

“The poor pay high electricity bills, but the elite receive free electricity,” remarked Noor Alam Khan, the PAC’s then-chairman. He also stated that legislators do not receive free power or gas.

Khan stated that free energy for officers in grades 16-22 should be discontinued since the country was losing Rs9 billion each year. He also stated that he will bring up the idea of free power in the National Assembly.

The PAC chairman requested that the power division secretary conduct an investigation into continuous losses in the electricity sector and identify individuals responsible for the losses.