ISLAMABAD: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is in the final stages of rolling out a nationwide automated meter reading (AMR) project. The project was initiated as part of the agency’s continuing efforts in assisting government-owned power distribution companies (DISCOs) in reducing losses and enhancing revenues.
Initially, the project will target areas with high electricity theft and significantly high line losses, said a news release issued here on Thursday. AMR will provide highly accurate electronic meter readings with little human intervention, using computer technology to transmit meter readings data via GSM/GPRS and radio signals. This will help DISCOs monitor energy consumption trends among different consumer categories, understand consumer patterns, reduce electricity losses significantly and increase their revenues.
The installation of AMR meters will start in the first quarter of the year. This will be the largest AMR rollout in Pakistan, with almost 17,000 AMR meters being installed among five DISCOs. Under the project, AMR meters will be installed at feeders, distribution transformers, agricultural tube-wells and general and high-end consumers, in areas with a high number of thefts and electricity losses.
The project is being launched as a model for the five DISCOs to showcase the benefits of latest meter reading technologies. The programme will also facilitate in establishing methodologies for energy accounting and cost of service studies for DISCOs.
AMR experts from the USAID Power Distribution Programme, along with teams from all five DISCOs, will be travelling to the ITRON’s – the company that manufactures AMR meters – manufacturing facility in France on January 4, 2013 for the factory acceptance testing of AMR meters.
The USAID Power Distribution Programme 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 USAID Power Distribution Programme is also providing training to DISCOs in strategic planning and change management, management development, planning and engineering, customer information system, lineman safety and skill enhancement, business planning and financial modelling, communications and customer outreach, gender equity and developing and training personnel.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2013.
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