ISLAMABAD (PPI) - Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said the country could save electricity worth Rs650 million annually if the existing automated teller machines were converted to solar power. It said the ATMs deriving energy from the sun could also work without air-conditioning, resulting in annual saving of Rs0.15 million for ech ATM. It also called for installation of ATMs with biometric authentication to benefit the lesser literate people. We have around 6,800 online branches, 4,500 ATMs and 10 million users of plastic cards. Their majority resides in urban areas; now we should also plan to benefit the rural population, PEW President Dr Murtaza Mughal said, adding, Despite expansion plans, banks prefer maximum penetration in the urban areas. According to Mughal, solar ATMs can also settle the issue of unpredictable power supply. We must have ATMs that function without PIN numbers and grid connectivity, he stressed. Currently teller machines have 56 per cent share in all electric transactions which will further increase if it becomes friendly for the uneducated. He demanded the SBP to improve traditional paper-based Retail Payment System, which is still dominating the scene with over 85 per cent share. We should move towards modern electronic instruments with full awareness about the risks involved. This will call for introduction of modern core banking solutions. He said the mobile phone industry had already bypassed the usual wires, poles, roads and telephone exchanges, which had benefited the masses to a great extent. These companies are earning windfall profits, therefore, they should come forward to convert their thousands of sites on solar power, which will not only save electricity and reduce oil import bill but also help combat pollution, said Mughal.