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Bills go unpaid in some areas under Taliban: DABS

Bills go unpaid in some areas under Taliban: DABS

Nov 01, 2017 - 05:16

KABUL (Pajhwok): Da Afghanistan Breshna Shirkat (DABS) on Tuesday announced its inability to collect electricity bills in six provinces of the country.

Amanullah Ghalib, DABS head, told a press conference on the sidelines of ‘DABS officials 7th workshop’ here that the number of power costumers had increased from 1.2 million in 2016 to 1.4 million in 2017.

He said DABS had set its revenue target for the current solar year at 29 billion afghanis and so far 15 billion had been collected.

Ghalib said they were unable to collect bills in areas under Taliban control in Kunduz, Herat, Baghlan, Helmand, Faryab and Jawzjan provinces.

When asked if militants collected these bills, he said: “I do not know who collect them, but insecurity is a challenge for us and we are unable to collect power bills in the mentioned areas.”

He said costumers, half of them government organs, owed 10.7 million afghanis in unpaid bills to the power utility.

However, Ghalib said DABS had taken measures and was working jointly with the Ministry of Finance to collect the outstanding amount.

He said the president had approved DABS suggestion to introduce to judicial organs individuals who owed high amount of money in power bills and impose travel ban on them.

About load-shedding in winter, he said outages in capital Kabul during winter resulted from increased consumption and extension of power networks, a process currently underway.

He said two thermal power stations with the capacity of 140 megawatts would be activated soon and their costs would be paid by the High Economic Council. Load-shedding would decrease with activation of these stations, he added.

Dr. Khalid Stanikzai, commercial director at DABS, said 23.1 percent of electricity was being lost, an issue he stressed needed attention.

According to DABS, 34 percent of the country’s population has access to electricity at the moment. The power utility says 60 percent of population would have access to the service in the next two years.