KESC gets grant for Smart Grid feasibility study

Express July 22, 2010

KARACHI: The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) signed a grant agreement with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) under which the USTDA will finance a feasibility study for the implementation of the Smart Grid system.

According to a press release issued on Thursday, the system will aimed at cutting down electricity losses. “The biggest problem being faced by KESC is transmission line losses and we aim to reduce them as much as possible with the new grid system,” KESC spokesperson Aamir Abbasi told The Express Tribune.

Dr Naveed Ahmed, KESC’s head of corporate strategy, and US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson signed the agreement in Islamabad. The USTDA has agreed to give the utility a grant of $550,000 for the feasibility study.

The smart grid will deliver electricity to consumers using a two-way digital technology with an information and net-metering system, including a monitoring system that keeps track of the electricity flow.

The smart grid system, which is an advanced electricity-dispatch system, incorporates the use of conductive transmission lines. “This will improve the efficiency of the lines,” said Abbasi.

The objectives of the feasibility study is to determine whether a Smart Grid system will help reduce KESC losses to the degree needed to justify major capital investment. It will help the struggling utility assess needs for the number of meters, technical capability, geographic boundaries, cost and interfaces of a pilot Smart Grid project.

It will also work out its financial performance, support financing, and produce specifications and international tender documents for such a project. The study will also aim to determine the parameters affecting technical losses of the KESC distribution system and will list the non-technical losses as well.

Other aspects to be studied include geographic and demographic constraints and social acceptance issues. “Social acceptance basically means how the people of our society will react to such a system, can our technicians understand and repair these systems and what social problems might arise,” Abbasi explained.

The study, intended to be completed by May 31, 2011, will also design a pilot project covering specified business locations, residential areas and the city’s suburbs.

On why this Smart Grid system was proposed, the KESC spokesman said the utility wanted to follow the example of mega cities where they have an efficient energy distribution system. He said that KESC will only begin the implementation after the study’s results.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2010.

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