Power theft law: how effective it will be

THERE is news about the law for prevention of electricity theft, wherein there is a proposal of one year imprisonment and Rs0.1 million fine for those found guilty of meter tampering.

This law has serious flaws and may lead to misuse by opponents to settle the scores with their rivals. Moreover, Wapda employees often involved in rigging the bills may tamper the meters themselves for those not agreeing to pay the ‘monthly’.

I know a woman whose separated husband is a line superintendent in Wapda (Mesco) and keeps the woman under pressure by having her billed heavily to the tune of Rs25,000 to 30,000 a month for a seven – marla house.

When she contacted the authorities, he managed to put the blame on her for meter tampering. Such culprits go unpunished because they are feeding their corrupt superiors and helping corrupt politicians steal electricity for their factories.

I, therefore suggest that (1) the law should have strict provisions for Wapda employees involved in corrupt practices. Meters may be shifted inside the premises to protect them from tampering by outsiders and easy apportioning of the blame on users.

The misuse of free electricity by Wapda employees may be checked strictly.

The redress of users’ grievances may be assigned to some independent body instead of those who are involved in preparation of inflated bills, and they must be held responsible for overcharging for the wrong motives.

Misuse of domestic connections for running motor pumps in the fields should also be addressed. As the contents of the proposed bill are not known, no specific suggestion can be made at this stage.

It would be better to keep it open to discussions in the media before the assembly puts its stamp, as most of the heavy users are sitting therein and would guard their personal interests.

SHER SHAH MALIK
Rawalpindi

Source: http://dawn.com/2012/09/13/power-theft-law-how-effective-it-will-be/