ISLAMABAD - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under Power Distribution Programme, organised training on first aid and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for the line staff of power distribution companies (DISCOs) at the Rescue 1122 Training School in Rawalpindi.

Linemen safety trainers from all nine DISCOs of Pakistan participated which include participants from IESCO in Islamabad, MEPCO in Multan, PESCO in Peshawar, FESCO in Faisalabad, GEPCO in Gujranwala, QESCO in Quetta, LESCO in Lahore, HESCO in Hyderabad and SEPCO in Sukkur.

The USAID Power Distribution Programme has to-date trained more than 500 linemen of DISCOs.

The ‘Quick Impact Safety Training’ programme is part of the assistance being provided by the US government as commitment to support Pakistan in reforming the power sector and helping power companies improve their performance. Besides this initiative USAID has also pledged to implement a number of assistance programmes, including institutional improvement of power companies through capacity building and trainings in all functional areas including human resources, governance, finance, engineering, commercial, communications and outreach and cost of service and tariff design.

“Statistics of deadly accidents in distribution companies present a very grim picture showing no signs of reduction, rather there have been an increase in the number of accidents over the last few years,” said Robert Dalton, Linemen Training expert of USAID Power Distribution Programme. Elaborating on the issue he explained that more than 100 linesmen lost their lives in 2010-11 alone, which left miserable effects on their families and an equal number was injured seriously or disabled. An analysis of the accidents clearly indicated that the majority were caused due to a non-adherence of safety procedures.

Robert Dalton further added that more than 90 per cent of accidents were not due to defective equipment but due to failure on the part of workmen and those in authority to observe safety rules and adopt safety practices for accident prevention.

The USAID Power Distribution Programme is a four and a half year, USAID-funded programme aimed at working jointly with government-owned DISCOs in Pakistan to improve their performance in terms of a reduction in losses, and improvement in both revenues and customer services, to bring them to the level of well-run utilities in other progressive countries. Through this programme, the United States Government provides assistance and support to the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to reform the power sector to end the current energy crisis.