West News Wire: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved $195 million in funding today to help Pakistan improve power distribution and execute energy sector reforms to improve customer service quality.

The Energy Distribution Efficiency Improvement Project (EDEIP) will assist distribution businesses in improving operations in order to more efficiently manage the electricity supply and boost the dependability of the electrical grid. It focuses on cost-cutting measures to boost revenue collection and decrease losses, as well as on modernizing operations via the use of technology and information systems. In addition, the initiative will invest in climate-resilient infrastructure, including grid stations and transmission lines, which are important to distribution and utility services.

“The long-term financial viability of the power sector depends on improving the efficiency of electricity distribution companies that deliver electricity to consumers,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “These efforts will improve the operational and financial performance of select distribution companies to improve their bankability and ultimately generate more private sector participation.”

The EDEIP will support institutional reforms to improve governance and transparency and will develop systems and practices to improve managerial performance and compliance with regulatory requirements. In addition, the project will help build the technical capacity of the distribution companies by providing training programs, tools, and equipment to improve staff performance in key utility operations.

“The project will focus on strengthening operations and governance of Hyderabad Electric Supply Company, Multan Electric Power Company, and Peshawar Electric Supply Company,” said Mohammad Saqib Task Team Leader for the project. “With the leadership of the Ministry of Energy, this project will bolster market-sector reforms, reduce transmission and distribution losses, and improve the sector’s financial performance.”

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The EDEIP complements ongoing power sector support from the World Bank, including on transmission network, renewable energy generation, as well as reforms through the Pakistan Program for Affordable and Clean Energy (PACE), which focuses on improving its financial viability and transitioning to low-carbon energy. The project will increase the reliability of electricity services for residential, agricultural, commercial, and industrial sector consumers in project areas, and will contribute to reducing carbon emissions.

Pakistan has been a member of the World Bank since 1950. Since then, the World Bank has provided $40 billion in assistance. The World Bank’s program in Pakistan is governed by the Country Partnership Strategy for FY2015-2020 with four priority areas of engagement: energy, private sector development, inclusion, and service delivery. The current portfolio has 58 projects and a total commitment of $13.8 billion.

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