The USAID Power Distribution Program (PDP) is part of the assistance and support which the United States Government provides through the United States Agency for International Development (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 by 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 the Ministry of Water and Power (MWP), and the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) to improve governance, and the regulatory framework and management of the power sector. The Program ultimately works to eliminate the need for subsidies and for the delivery of an increased supply of reliable power to consumers.
This five-year program began in September 2010 and was designed to be implemented under two components but which was later extended to include a third component as well.
Geographic Coverage: The Program works with all nine DISCOs, covering all of Pakistan except the area around Karachi which is covered by the privately-owned vertically integrated utility, Karachi Electric Supply Company, now K-Electric. When the Program began, there were eight licensed DISCOs: Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO), Gujranwala Electric Power Company (GEPCO), Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO), Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO), Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO), Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO), Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO), and Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO). Later, Sukkur Electric Power Company (SEPCO) was created by bifurcation of HESCO. A tenth distribution company covering the tribal areas of the Khyber Paktunkhwa province i.e. Tribal Areas Electric Supply Company (TESCO) was recently granted a distribution license by NEPRA.
- Conduct operational audits of power distribution companies in governance, engineering and operations, commercial and financial management, human resources, communications and customer services.
- Develop and implement Performance Improvement Action Plans for each distribution company.
- Provide capacity building and training to DISCOs’ staff in strategic planning, planning and engineering, human resources and lineman safety, commercial and financial management, and communications and customer services. Also help DISCOs in upgrading their training centers to include 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 (P&E) function and establish new P&E centers in each DISCO in addition to introducing Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping and new tool for system analysi.
- Provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Water and Power to introduce best practices and strengthen its 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 their overall commercial and financial performance.
- Almost eliminated unscheduled and forced load shedding and improved load management and system control by installation of over 8,700 smart meters on all grid substations of all DISCOs across the whole country and established state-of-the-art power distribution control centers in all DISCOs except QESCO where it is under construction. These centers will help monitor the flow of power and provide an accurate picture of power as it is bring consumed.
- 119 megawatt (MW) of power and 485 million kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy saved through installation of capacitors, replacement of meters with new electronic meters, replacement of pumps and motors and by improvements in commercial procedures. The deferred investment in new generation on account of these MWs saved is around $133 million. These efforts have resulted in the provision of improved energy services to approximately 1.79 million beneficiaries.
- Increased DISCO revenues by $133 million in all 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.
- Enumerated approximately 50,000 consumers through census program initiated to identify the location of illegal connections and legal connections erroneously billed. Census work has resulted in the 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 12,200 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 implementing 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.