Pakistan’s government has cut off power supplies to several official buildings, including parliament, the prime minister’s office and the president’s residence, due to unpaid bills.
Abid Sher Ali, the minister for water and power, announced on Tuesday an “indiscriminate drive” to recover unpaid bills and warned that all offices and customers who had defaulted would be cut off.
The country has experienced rolling power cuts largely caused by people not paying their bills. Government offices are among the worst offenders.
“I have issued orders that the electricity supply to parliament lodges, parliament house and president’s secretariat should be disconnected immediately for non-payment of millions of rupees of bills,” Ali said.
Pakistan’s capital development authority, Islamabad’s civic agency, which is responsible for paying bills for government offices, owes the Islamabad Electricity Supply Company [IESCO] $24m.
The president’s secretariat, which is the head of state’s office and residence, owes close to $300,000, while parliament lodges had to pay around $200,000 to IESCO, according to Ali.
Power company officials said that the electricity supply to more than 100 government offices had been disconnected over non-payment of bills.
Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, promised to solve the country’s energy crisis in the run-up to the 2013 general election.
But daily power cuts have already begun this year.
People struggle without electricity for between 12 and 18 hours each day in extreme summer temperatures.
On top of electricity cuts, the state-run gas company also disconnected the natural gas supply to the prime minister’s offices. [AFP]