Pakistan’s AMR system failures will not delay USAID plan

USAID Pakistan utility AMR system
USAID has undertaken a five year programme to improve electricity distribution and revenue collection across Pakistan

In Pakistan, a USAID-funded automatic meter reading (AMR) system has hit problems due to meter failures despite the rollout being considered an “achievement” for the country’s power distribution sector.

USAID has funded the installation of an AMR system in the service territory of Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco).

Local sources told newspaper Business Recorder that there have been “several reports of failure in [the] AMR system in Mepco. Initially 150 meters indicated faults due to heat and unmatched specifications”.

AMR system for high-consumption customers

Under USAID’s Power Distribution Programme, the aid agency has worked with the local utility to deploy a first batch of AMR meters.

Customers consuming 20kW or more in the Shah-Rukn-e-Alam area received AMR meters.

The report claims that billing for the first batch has been successfully implemented using AMR meters and a new customer information system.

USAID reportedly called this a “milestone achievement” with Mepco the first distribution company in Pakistan to move from manual meter reading to AMR for all categories of customers.

USAID will now commission meters and AMR systems for Mepco’s other subdivisions, Business Recorder stated, however it is allegedly meeting with resistance in some areas.

Distribution company Pesco is reportedly not yet ready for USAID to install around 80,000 AMR meters in its service territory.

Improve revenue collection

The USAID Power Distribution Programme is a five-year initiative launched in 2010 to improve the performance of Pakistan’s distribution companies by reducing losses and improving revenue and customer services.

The project aims to install AMR meters as well as smart meters at feeders, distribution transformers, agricultural tubewells, general and high-end consumers.

The USAID Power Distribution Program will also introduce new equipment specifically designed to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.

Besides AMR, smart metering and other hardware projects, the programme also provides training to distribution companies in change management, customer information system, lineman safety and communications and customer outreach.