USAID Introduces New Technology to Help Reduce Unscheduled Power Cuts in Gujranwala

U.S. Consul General Lahore, Zachary Harkenrider and the CEO of the Gujranwala Electric Power Company Zahoor Ahmed Chohan inaugurated a new state-of-the-art Power Distribution Center today. The center has been established with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to automate the monitoring and management of power flow throughout the network. This upgrade has dramatically reduced the incidents of unscheduled load shedding throughout Pakistan.

“Supporting the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to improve the performance of the energy sector is one of our top assistance priorities.” said Consul General Harkenrider.  “We work hand in hand with government officials and specialists in the power sector to improve the delivery of power to consumers,” he added.

The new Power Distribution Center receives real-time data on electricity loads in various parts of the network. This critical information is a key factor which enables the power distribution companies to prevent unscheduled load-shedding. To upgrade the power flow management, USAID, through its Power Distribution Program, installed state-of-the-art technology at the power distribution centers of all distribution companies. This new technology provides current data on the loads throughout the power network, which allows power distribution companies to make prompt adjustments and avoid overloads of the system.

Acting USAID Provincial Director for Punjab Maggie Schoch also attended the event and oversees USAID’s Power Distribution Program (PDP), a five-year program launched in 2010 to support the Pakistan government in its efforts to strengthen operations of the government-owned power distribution companies (DISCOs). The ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for subsidies in the power sector and improve supply of electricity to consumers.

The program works to improve governance, policy framework, and management of the power sector to reduce distribution losses, increase collection of the bills, and enhance customer services.  The improvements introduced by PDP have eliminated as much as $180 million in annual losses to Pakistan’s economy and increased distribution company revenues by approximately $250 million a year, while saving or adding enough power to continuously supply 2.2 million people.