Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the only electricity supplier in the country, is not capable of collecting payments for electricity from residents in parts of Faryab, Kunduz, Baghlan, Helmand, Badghis, and Herat provinces, sources told TOLOnews, adding that Taliban militants instead collect the funds.
The exact amount of money being collected by the Taliban is unclear, but a spokesperson for the group in a voice message received by TOLOnews said that the Taliban collects electricity money in some provinces based on an agreement they have with DABS.
Experts in the energy sector confirmed the collection of Breshna’s electricity payments by the Taliban and said the company is not able to collect the funds in provinces that lack security.
“The income collected by the Taliban in territories under their control is about 15%-20% of the total income of DABS. The Taliban not only collects Breshna’s payments for themselves but they also get other sectors’ money,” said Faiz Mohammad Zadran, an expert in the energy and electricity sector.
“Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, to recover its lost money from the unpaid electricity bills, has changed the billing period from a two-month period to a one-month period. Previously, the electricity consumers were charged a flat rate of 25 Afghanis every two months, and consumers are still being charged 25 Afghanis at a flat rate, however, it is now for each month, not two. With this decision DABS is going to overcharge electricity consumers about 150 million Afghanis per year,” he added.
Herat residents criticized DABS, saying the company is increasing the rates because it cannot collect payments from other customers.
“Breshna’s administration cannot handle problems, and, instead, it always tries to get the electricity money from the poor people as it is incapable of getting the money from the Taliban,” said Nasir Ahmad Jamea, a resident of Koshk Robaat Sangi district in Herat province.
Parwiz, a Herat resident, said: “at the moment, laws are being enforced only in the city, there is no law enforcement outside the city and in the districts.”
Nevertheless, DABS claimed it was meeting its revenue goals:
“The new leadership was able to collect 28 billion Afs and 290 million Afs from electricity bills in the year 1399, and the collected money was 4 billion Afs more than what was estimated,” said a spokesperson for Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, Sangar Niazi.
In recent years, complaints against Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat have increased among electricity consumers.
These consumers say that changing the electricity billing cycle from a two-month period to a one-month period is unfair, has doubled their electricity costs, and is not acceptable for the people of Afghanistan.