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Lighting Pakistan


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) speaks alongside Pakistan's Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif during their visit to an Islamabad electric supply company substation, August 1, 2013.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, has provided Pakistan valuable assistance in generating critically needed electricity.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, has provided Pakistan valuable assistance in generating critically needed electricity. To highlight these assistance projects, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently visited an electricity substation in Pakistan, where electricity shortages have caused rolling blackouts of up to 20 hours a day in some parts of the country.


The United States has agreed to provide over $7 billion in aid of which $3.5 billion has already been delivered to Pakistan. The funds have gone to projects such as the Zero Point Power Plant that Secretary Kerry visited. Such projects have added 1,000 megawatts of power to the national grid of Pakistan. That's enough to benefit and uplift the lives of 16 million Pakistanis. An additional 200 megawatts is expected to be added by 2014.

One of the greatest restraints on growth, said Mr. Kerry, is the lack of energy. If a company is going to run an effective manufacturing operation, it needs to have energy. If a school is going to open, it needs to have energy.

Clearly, the amount of power produced will have to increase substantially, said Mr. Kerry, "and a lasting solution is actually going to require changing the current subsidies that exist and finding a way to improve the efficiency of power generation and to be able to make certain that we have a system that works, where bills are collected, and the system actually pays for itself. That's how you get a modern and effective and efficient system, and it'll improve the economy of Pakistan in doing it."

The Islamabad Electric Supply Company, said Mr. Kerry, is now helping to guarantee that the power that is generated from infrastructure projects is actually going to reach people reliably and efficiently. Smart meters allow authorities to be able to guarantee that they understand what the demand level is, they understand what's being provided, they also understand better where it's going in the transmission line, and whether it's being lost or even stolen in the course of transmission.

The United States is eager to continue to work with its friends at the Electric Supply Company and in the energy sector throughout Pakistan to rapidly increase the power available to the Pakistani people and economy.
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