Engineering council rejects reshuffling plan for power firms

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) has opposed a plan of massive transfers and postings of engineers in state-owned power distribution companies.

The body expressed its reservations after the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) told the Senate Standing Committee on Power recently that it was considering reshuffling sub-divisional officers (SDOs) and executive engineers (Xen) to stop their influence in the political process.

The Senate committee had also recommended to the government to stop the installation of new power transformers in any part of the country till general elections were held on July 25.

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The committee came up with the proposal after observing that politicians in some constituencies were roaming with transformers in their vehicles while others had kept the machinery in their guest houses in a bid to lure voters by offering them power connection. “This trend needs to be stopped,” the committee emphasised.

It warned that if the transformers kept in the guest houses were not removed, it would hand over the matter to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

It recommended to the Power Division to take strong exception to the installation of new transformers or electric towers in any part of the country in the transition period before ballot.

However, PEC Chairman Jawed Salim Qureshi, in a letter written to the Power Division and Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), opposed the proposed plan of massive transfers and postings of engineers of power companies.

Responding to a proposal about transferring all engineers out of the districts where they were currently working, Qureshi highlighted possible problems and the risk of unrest.

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“That can affect the continuity and supply of services to the consumers. There had been extensive reshuffle of engineers in all distribution companies earlier this year after a new transfer and posting policy was unveiled by Pepco,” he said.

The policy was adopted by the companies following approval by their respective board of directors that hampered electricity distribution and supply.

“As the transfer policy is being implemented, the proposal of massive transfers of engineers is not required when the system is hardly carrying peak demand and the majority of engineers have tenures of less than one year,” the PEC chief said.

He pointed out that engineers being technical people had an idea about the transmission and distribution system in their jurisdictions which they had come to know in due course of time.

As the summer was going on and there was excessive load on the system, the fresh reshuffling may cause power breakdown due to the new engineers being unfamiliar with ongoing activities, he cautioned.

Moreover, the distribution companies have specialised units that perform special jobs. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2018.

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