USAID Mission Director Inaugurates IT Lab at LESCO Training Center

The United States Agency for International Development Mission Director for Pakistan Gregory Gottlieb and CEO of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) Qaisar Zaman inaugurated an Information Technology (IT) lab established at the LESCO Regional Training Center with USAID’s support. U.S. Consul General in Lahore Zachary Harkenrider and Acting Provincial Director USAID Punjab Maggie Schoch accompanied them on the occasion. This IT lab will enable LESCO employees to enhance their computer skills required in their day-to-day work, as well as support the use of various technologies that the United States has helped to introduce at LESCO to improve the supply of electricity to consumers.

“I am hopeful that the information technology lab we are inaugurating here today will further strengthen LESCO’s ability to deal with and manage the energy available to it in order to provide the Lahore area with the energy it needs to grow and thrive,” stated Mission Director Gottlieb at the ceremony.  The U.S. delegation also observed the linemen training at the center.

“I believe that with the commitment and dedication of key stakeholders, Pakistan’s power shortages will one day be a thing of the past. It is through improvements such as the one we are celebrating today, that the problems will be resolved,” said U.S. Consul General Zachary Harkenrider. “This center will serve as a base from which to introduce new technologies that will improve the operations of LESCO and the delivery of power to consumers,” he added.

The LESCO IT lab has been set up  under USAID’s Power Distribution Program and includes a server, 28 computers, three  uninterrupted power supply units, networking facilities, multimedia equipment, as well as furniture and air conditioners. The lab will be used to train employees in the use of new technologies introduced by USAID at LESCO as the automated system for the management and control of power flow to improve power supply, GIS-based mapping of the network or automated system for the planning of network expansions and renovations.

USAID’s Power Distribution Program is a five-year program launched in 2010 to support Pakistan’s government in its efforts to strengthen operations of the government-owned power distribution companies. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for subsidies in the power sector and improve the 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 program demonstrates a wide variety of improvements which can be replicated across the power distribution sector.

Later in the day, Mission Director Gregory Gottlieb also visited Community Support Concern, an NGO that recently established a Trade Facilitation and Communication Center under USAID and Aurat Foundation’s Gender Equity Program. He met with several local women artisans at the center and saw the handicrafts produced by them.