ISLAMABAD - US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director to Pakistan John Groarke Tuesday inaugurated two new autotransformers for the Mardan Grid Station in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and presented tools and trucks to power distribution companies in a ceremony held at the Rawat Grid Station.

The United States is helping the National Transmission and Dispatch Company upgrade its network to accommodate Pakistan’s increasing demand for electricity, said a press release issued here.

USAID has already provided training, equipment and vehicles to enhance the capacity of four distribution companies: Lahore Electric Supply Company, Quetta Electric Supply Company, Multan Electric Power Company, and the Sukkur Electric Power Company. This initiative is part of the U.S. government’s commitment to support the government of Pakistan in making improvements in the energy sector.

With the training and equipment provided, all nine of Pakistan’s power distribution companies will have the resources necessary for crews to perform tests and maintenance on live power lines without shutting them down.

This capability will result in increased energy availability and reliability.

The assistance to the National Transmission and Dispatch Company is an example of US support for the Pakistan government’s efforts to increase power production and improve its delivery to consumers. US-funded programmes have supported the completion of the Satpara and Gomal Zam dams, helped the rehabilitation of Tarbela and Mangla dams’ power plants, helped rehabilitate Guddu, Jamshoro, and Muzaffargarh thermal power plants, and is working with all nine government-owned electricity distribution companies to modernize their operations.

Over the past five years, this cooperation has added over 1,500 megawatts to the national grid, enough power to provide electricity to more than 16 million people.