The Asian Development Bank (ADB) last week 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.
The ADB said in a statement 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.”
AMI development in Pakistan
Earlier in the year, Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) announced plans to kick start a three-year smart meter rollout by the middle of the year in a bid to improve accurate customer billing.
The announcement came after IESCO and Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) received US$177 million from the ADB for funding AMI projects.
The two also received received 40,000 meters of the 150,000 units procured to be installed meters in residential properties and grid stations, reported Metering & Smart Energy International.
IESCO said will also direct the fund towards launch of a customer relationship management system to allow consumers to lodge complaints using SMS about overbilling or load-shedding.
The system will allow the utility to send out bills including pictures taken by meter readers of meter dials by SMS starting in Islamabad and Rawalpindi before being rolled out across the rest of the utilities service area.