Farah strongmen default on power bills
FARAH CITY (Pajhwok): As many as 1,200 powerful individuals owe nearly 12 million afghanis in unpaid electricity bills to the power utility in western Farah province, where electricity theft amounts to a million afghanis a month, an official said on Tuesday.
Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) head, Abdul Nasir Nizami, told Pajhwok Afghan News some individuals had not been paying their outstanding power bills from four months to a year and others for the past three years.
“We cut off power supply and block energy meters of those failing to clear dues in a period of four months, but these powerful individuals unblock the meters and reconnect their lines,” he said.
He did not identify the defaulters, but the company has shared with Pajhwok Afghan News a list of people, who forcibly used electricity without paying bills.
One of them on the list is a former provincial council member Kishwar Shaiq, who owes 52,990 afghanis in unpaid bills to the power department.
But Shaiq said their power had been disconnected since a year and they used solar power system. He claimed he had cleared all outstanding amounts to DABS after his electricity line was cut off.
“I would contact the power department to know what the issue is. If I am a defaulter, I would definitely pay the arrears,” he said.
DABS Farah head Nizami said besides the issue of non-payment of electricity bills by some powerful individuals, some Farah citizens were involved in power theft.
“In every two months, the recovery should be seven million afghanis, but it is only three million because electricity worth two million is stolen and the remaining unpaid.”
He said the situation had decreased by 24 percent his department’s income. “That is why the power system cannot be improved in Farah.”
Currently 3,100 consumers use electricity in Farah against 40 afghanis per one KWH.
On the list of defaulters, another resident of Farah City, Mohammad Iqbal, owes 21,910 afghanis to the power utility.
Provincial police chief, Col. Del Jan Khakrezi, said the crime branch police had been directed to immediately deal with the issue.
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