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The electricity Dispute between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federal Governments: A Crisis Reaching its Boiling Point

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The ongoing dispute between the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and federal governments, which has led to prolonged load-shedding in the province, has reached a critical point. The conflict, sparked by KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur’s ultimatum to the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) to limit power outages to 12 hours a day, has left the public in a state of uncertainty and frustration.

The fundamental issue lies in Pesco’s poor performance in controlling line losses and rampant power theft in KP, resulting in significant power losses on its network. While the utility has resorted to prolonged load-shedding in areas with high power theft, the provincial government’s confrontational approach is not conducive to a resolution.

The lack of cooperation between the provincial and federal governments has hindered efforts to address the transmission system issues in KP. Instead of seeking meaningful solutions, PTI lawmakers have resorted to populist actions. Minister for Power Awais Leghari highlighted the challenges in addressing electricity theft and bill recoveries in certain parts of KP, emphasizing the need for collaboration between authorities to counter these issues.

While the proposal to offset the province’s electricity liabilities with net hydel profits owed by the federal government is deemed unfeasible, it opens the door to potential solutions. A collaborative approach between the federal and provincial governments, coupled with a concerted effort to combat corruption and inefficiencies within PESCO could be the key to addressing the systemic challenges in power distribution.

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To achieve a permanent solution, the unlawful practice of revenue-based power cuts should be replaced with alternative measures that do not penalize honest consumers. Tackling the incompetence and corruption within distribution companies is crucial in addressing the underlying issues in the power distribution system.

In conclusion, a constructive and collaborative approach is not just necessary, but the only way forward to resolve the electricity dispute between the KP and federal governments. This approach holds the promise of effective measures to tackle power theft, line losses, and inefficiencies within the distribution system, bringing relief to the public.

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