March 19, 2014
The United States government is helping to save the lives of thousands of linemen who work for Pakistan’s electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) through a safety training program. The most recent batch of graduate trainees was presented with certificates of completion at a ceremony in Islamabad today. The trainings are conducted under a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
“Effective operations and maintenance of the distribution network depends heavily on linemen,” said Michael Curtis, Director of USAID’s Energy Office. “However, historically in Pakistan, over 100 experienced linemen lose their lives and the same numbers of linemen are severely disabled every year,” Curtis added. To help save lives and improve safety, the United States, through USAID, developed training programs for DISCO linemen, staff, and senior management. The sessions are designed to instill a culture of safety and by so doing reduce deaths, which represent an irreplaceable loss to families and also cause significant losses to distribution companies. “The U.S. government will continue to support Pakistan to bring improvements in the electricity distribution network to improve availability and reliability for consumers,” said Curtis.
USAID has trained over 2,000 linemen in this program and has helped DISCOs offer these trainings to another 9,000 linemen. USAID also provided training to 150 DISCO officials who will be implementing the safety programs in Pakistani DISCOs. The program helps government-owned electric power distribution companies to improve their performance, reduce losses, increase revenues, and enhance customer service.
These efforts are part of a broad U.S. government energy sector assistance program for Pakistan that aims to increase its electricity output to benefit about 16 million people throughout the country by 2014. As part of the U.S. government energy sector assistance program, USAID has funded renovations at Tarbela, Jamshoro, Mangla, Guddu, and Muzzafargharh power plants, aided the completion of Gomal Zam and Satpara dams, and helped improve power distribution throughout Pakistan. By the end of 2014, these efforts are expected to add a cumulative total of 1400 megawatts to Pakistan’s national power grid.