About Us

 

USAID Power Distribution Program (PDP) is part of the assistance and support which the United States Government provides through USAID to the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to reform the power sector to overcome the current energy crisis. The Program aims at working with Pakistan’s nine government-owned power distribution companies (DISCOs) to improve their operational and financial performance in terms of reducing losses, increasing revenues, and improving customer services, so that the companies can achieve a level of performance commensurate with that of well-run utilities around the world. The Program also works with Ministry of Water and Power (MWP), and the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) to improve governance, regulatory framework and management of the power sector. The Program ultimately works to eliminate the need for subsidies and for delivery of more and reliable power to the customers.

This 5-year Program started off in September, 2010 and was designed to be implemented under two components but later it was extended and a third component has been added.

Geographic Coverage: The Program works with all the nine DISCOs, covering the whole of Pakistan except area around Karachi which is covered by a privately owned vertically integrated utility, KESC, now K-electric. When the Program started off, there were eight licensed DISCOs: FESCO, GEPCO, HESCO, IESCO, LESCO, MEPCO, PESCO, and QESCO. Later, SEPCO was created by bifurcation of HESCO. There is another distribution company, TESCO, which covers the border areas of KPK with Afghanistan. It has recently been granted distribution license by the regulator, NEPRA.

Components:

Component 1 consisted of operational audits of each of the eight DISCOs. The ninth was created later. The purpose of these in-depth, operational audits was to identify the problem areas and to establish baseline information that could be used to measure improvement in performance over time. The audits covered governance, engineering & operation, commercial, financial, human resource, communications and customer service areas, and surfaced opportunities for fundamental improvement in all these areas. All the Operational Audits Reports are available on our website. These improvement opportunities are reflected in DISCO specific Performance Improvement Action Plans. These Plans are also available on the website.
Component 2 focused on execution of the Performance Improvement Action Plans in each DISCO, including implementation of performance improvement projects to demonstrate a number of key operational improvements and directly measure their value to the utility. Two types of interventions/projects were implemented: One which were applicable to all the DISCOs and these are mostly institutional improvement projects; the others are DISCO specific and include pilot projects which demonstrate use of new technology and best practices but are confined to improvements in a subdivision or selected area. The concerned DISCO can then evaluate the performance compared with the cost and benefits and then can replicate it on a larger scale.
Component 3 is focused on execution of the Performance Improvement Action Plans in two Distribution Companies, PESCO and MEPCO, to demonstrate a number of key operational improvements on a larger scale and directly measure their value to the Company. This component also includes some high impact projects which are implemented in all the DISCOs.
Main Activities:
  • Conduct operational audits of power distribution companies in governance, engineering & operations, commercial & financial management, human resources, communications, and customer service.
  • Develop and implement performance improvement action plans for each company.
  • Provide capacity building and training to DISCOs staff in strategic planning, planning and engineering, human resource, customer service, lineman safety, commercial & financial management, and communications. Also help the DISCOs upgrade their training centers with proper tools and equipment.
  • Introduce new technology and equipment and best practices for improving metering, meter reading, billing, revenue collection, back office functions, automation and operations.
  • Demonstrate improvements through infrastructure projects such replacement of meters with electronic and automatic meter reading (AMR) meters, installation of efficient transformers, and replacement of open wires with aerial bundled cables at selected subdivisions.
  • Modernize planning and engineering function and establish new P&E center in each company and introducing GIS mapping and new tool for system analysid.
  • Provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Water and Power to introduce best practices and strengthen the ministry’s planning and policy ­making role.
  • Implement a nationwide smart metering program resulting in improved system monitoring and control and in decreased unscheduled load shedding.
  • Establish a new state-of-the-art power distribution control center in each of the nine DISCOs.
  • Deep dive in two DISCOs to improve the overall commercial and financial performance of the Companies.
Achievements up to Dec 2013:
  • Almost eliminated unscheduled/forced load shedding and improved load management and system control by installation of nearly 8,700 smart meters on all the grid substations of all the DISCOs across the whole country and established state-of-the-art power distribution control centers in all the DISCOs except QESCO, Quetta where it is under construction.
  • 110 MWs of power and 485 million kWh of energy saved through installation of high /low tension capacitors, replacement of meters with new electronic meters, replacement of pumps & motors and by improvements in commercial procedures. The deferred investment in new generation on account of these MWs saved is around $ 130 million. These efforts have resulted in provision of improved energy services to 1.65 million beneficiaries.
  • Increased DISCO revenues by $ 119 million in all the DISCOs.
  • Decrease in non-technical losses by about 10% in pilot areas through replacement of 40,000 faulty meters and re-fixing of 14,500 meters
  • 50,000 consumers enumerated through census program initiated to identify the location of illegal connections and legal connections not properly billed. Census work has resulted in identification of 1,100 theft cases and 146 wrong tariff cases.
  • Assisted in adoption of the “Protection from Harassment in the Workplace Act” in partner with DISCOs, resulting in improved working conditions for female staff.
  • Over 11,800 DISCOs linemen trained on proper safety techniques.
  • Established a new P&E computer center in each DISCO with state-of-the-art GIS mapping and load flow analysis tools. Every DISCO is doing loss reduction and expansion plans with these tools.
  • Improved governance and regulation of the country’s power sector through strengthening the Minister of Water and Power through developing a National Power Plan and introduction of best practices in performance measurement. Assistance was also provided to NEPRA in selected areas.

Further details on USAID’s energy projects in Pakistan can be found here.