USAID smart grid funding in Pakistan
USAID's smart grid funding was used to deploy smart meters, 48,000 capacitors, single phase smart transformers and 600km of aerial bundled transmission lines in Pakistan's Multan region

In Pakistan, electricity distributor Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) has this week announced completion of a smart grid project in Multan, Punjab province.

According to local media, the USAID-funded project to upgrade Multan's regional power supply system has to date minimised the utility’s technical losses and unscheduled load shedding.

Addressing journalists during a press conference, Mepco’s chief executive Fazalullah Durrani said beside establishing a new power distribution control centre, 48,000 capacitors installed on tube-wells has helped the utility in improving power supply saving 70MW and energy worth Rs2 billion (US$18.9 million). 

Mr Durrani added that the 40,000 smart meters installed to residential and industrial consumers in Multan, Vehari and Khanewal cities under the Rs7.3 million (US$69,172) worth project launched in 2010, have helped to improve the utility's billing system.

Mepco has also installed single phase smart transformers in congested areas of Multan and replaced bare-conductor LT lines with 600km of aerial bundled cables to improve power supply and public safety, reported Business Recorder.

Smart grid funding

The development follows a series of agreements between Pakistan and international institutions to upgrade utilities grids.

Lat week, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed two contracts with the government of Pakistan for combined loan assistance of US$800 million to boost the country’s power sector.

According to the ADB, the first contract worth US$400 million will fund the Power Distribution Enhancement Investment Program aimed at the installation of an advanced metering infrastructure system for power distribution companies across Pakistan.

Metering & Smart Energy International reported, that the AMI development programme will improve utilities’ load management and reduce non-revenue losses.

The distribution enhancement program will be carried out in phases, with each phase comprising installation of smart meters, computerised customer billing and information systems of two to three distribution companies in Pakistan’s major cities, and industrial and commercial hubs.

The other US$400 million loan will be streamed towards funding Pakistan’s Sustainable Energy Sector Reform Programme supporting ongoing policy reforms to build an affordable, efficient and secure energy sector.

Commenting on the development, ADB’s country director for Pakistan, Werner E. Liepach, said: “With demand for electricity outpacing supply inefficient and inadequate transmission and distribution systems are key bottlenecks in the development of the energy sector that is stifling growth and threatens social strife.”