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ISLAMABAD: World Bank (WB) has urged three power Distribution Companies (Discos), HESCO, MEPCO and PESCO, to initiate bidding process for the deployment of smart meters and transformer monitoring system (TMS) by July 1, 2023.

The Bank’s Operation Manager (Pakistan) Gailius J Draugelis in a letter to all concerned stakeholders urged them to extend support for the Electricity Distribution & Efficiency Improvement Project (EDEIP) which was recently scrutinized by its Implementation Support Mission (ISM). He appreciated Ministry of Economic Affairs for their support in meeting implementation startup requirements.

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According to the Bank, project implementation shows good progress as all four Project Implementing Entities (PIEs) have taken significant steps towards completing the actions agreed during the last ISM of November 2022. These are as follows: (i) all Project Management Units (PMUs) are functional with key positions filled and the process to fill the few remaining positions has been initiated; (ii) the procurement committees of all four PIEs are active and procurement activities are picking up pace as several goods packages have been launched after completing Environmental and Social (E&S) risk screenings; (iii) The Grievance Redressal Committees (GRCs) have been notified and the first training of GRC members was conducted at the World Bank office on March 21, 2023. The Grievance Redressal Mechanism (GRM) is also in place and being integrated with the existing Complaint Centre/system of the Discos to make it more effective; (iv) the client connection accounts have been set up for authorized signatories and liaison officers of each PIE. The opening of Designated Accounts (DAs) has also progressed and approval by the Accountant General Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) is awaited.

World Bank has requested that MoE closely monitor the account opening process and PIEs should be ready to send their first withdrawal application for an advance immediately after opening their DA’s; (v) a session on Corporate Governance was conducted on March 13 in which senior management of the Discos including CEOs, Finance Directors, Company Secretaries, Chief Engineer (Development) and internal auditor participated. Compliance with regulatory requirements is one of the indicators to measure project performance; and (v) MEPCO and PESCO have become WePower partners and their Lists of Activities (LoAs) to improve gender diversity have been approved.

To build on this momentum, World Bank has requested support from different stakeholders in the key activities which are as follows: (i) PIEs should complete the procurement process within the stipulated timelines for the award of eight goods contracts which are in process for a total estimated cost of S20million and incorporate E&S risk screening assessments in the bid and contract documents. One contract is ready for award, bids have been invited for four, and the remaining three are expected to be advertised in April; (ii) HESCO, MEPCO and PESCO should initiate the bidding process for the deployment of Smart Meters and Transformer Monitoring System (TMS) by July 1, 2023. HESCO and MEPCO have completed the E&S risk screening and should initiate the bidding process for their part after finalizing the technical specifications. In case of PESCO, this activity also includes the installation of Aerial Bundled Cables (ABC), the E&S assessment is in progress and is on track to start the procurement process around the same time; (iii) hiring of the Project Implementation and Management Support Consultants (PIMSCs) by the three Discos is at various stages and needs to be expedited. The procurement of remaining contracts, particularly for grid station works would require the preparation of design studies (including E&S instruments) before proceeding further, for which PIES would require support from PIMSCs; MEPCO should complete the evaluation and award PIMSCS contract by June 1, 2023 and HESCO and PESCO should issue the RFP to the short-listed firms by April 30 2023, and award the contract by September, 2023; (iv) Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of MoE should proceed to next step including finalization of ToRs and bid documents for the proposed component four activities.

The first procurement plan for an estimated cost of $6.5 million to support sector reforms has been published and this includes procurement of software licences, dongles and other IT equipment to be completed by June 30, 2023 and some consultancies for which Expression of Interest (EOIs) can be invited by June 15, 2023; and (v) PIES should also ensure timely submission of reporting requirements. This includes submission of Annual Work Plan & Budget for FY24 by April 30 and regular submission of quarterly progress reports. The first progress report covering the period until March 31 should be shared by April 30, 2023.

World Bank argues that action matrices to keep track of the progress have been shared by the task team with each Disco. Discos have to keep it updated and share the progress with the Bank and MoE on bi-weekly basis. Discos should also refer to the last Mission’s aide memoire and technical note of December 26, 2022 for further guidance. The next ISM is expected mid-May and will include visit to the sites proposed for grid stations and other investments financed through EDEIP.

World Bank has appreciated the Ministry of Energy (MoE), Power Division and the participating electricity Distribution Companies, namely Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO), Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO) and Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) for the assistance and support provided to the World Bank’s Implementation Support Mission (ISM) for EDEIP.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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