ISLAMABAD -  The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Power Distribution Programme on Saturday successfully completed its Load Data Improvement (LDI) programme at Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) to assist in minimising unscheduled loadshedding.

USAID set up a Power Distribution Center (PDC) at Hyderabad Electric Supply Company. This PDC contains monitoring screens which display continuous actual load data from the 70 Hyderabad Electric Supply Company grid stations and 379 HESCO feeders, thus providing HESCO PDC operators for the first time an immediate display of near real time actual load and feeder load shedding status of HESCO’s system. This information will enable HESCO to monitor its planned load shedding to stay within allocated limits and avoid the need for unscheduled load shedding.

Pakistan is in a serious power crisis which is gravely affecting its economy and is having a detrimental impact on most segments of society. With each passing day, the country is plunging deeper and deeper into the crisis - already, the electricity shortfall has hit record levels. This situation has resulted in Pakistanis bearing the burden of heavy daily load shedding of 12 to 16 hours, with the expectation that it might increase in the future.

With the high shortfall, government-owned power distribution companies (DISCOs) experience difficulty in effectively managing planned load shedding, mainly due to below-par antiquated communications systems, unpredictable loading, manual implementation and ineffective monitoring systems to provide timely information regarding actual loading conditions.

To mitigate loadshedding, in particular unplanned load shedding, the USAID Power Distribution Program’s LDI program is fast tracking the installation of Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) devices at all incoming and outgoing feeders of the grid stations in all nine DISCOs across Pakistan.

This is being done to provide operators immediate information on compliance with national total load allocations and visibility of individual feeder load shedding performance, in order to ensure compliance with planned load shedding targets and avoid the need for unscheduled load shedding.

AMR devices are being installed in all DISCOs similar to Hyderabad Electric Supply Company. The project includes upgrading of each DISCO’s PDC with live data being acquired and displayed from all of a DISCO’s grid stations and feeders.

“This data will help the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company PDC operators to continuously know the near real-time load of its power distribution system, and will consequently enable the monitoring of actual loads to implement optimum load management and achieve best utilization of available power” Said Dick Dumford, Senior Technical Advisor of USAID Power Distribution Program “This project will give comfort to consumers through the reduction in unscheduled load shedding and adherence to planned load shedding, leading to increased production and a reduction in the amount of lost power production in the country” he added.

The United States Agency for International Developmen Power Distribution Program is a five-year USAID funded project. Through this program, the United States Government provides assistance to the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to reform the power sector and mitigate the current energy crisis. The Program is helping government-owned DISCOs improve their performance by reducing losses, increasing revenues and enhancing customer services.