Inviting applications for the SAREP Grants Annual Program Statement (APS) – FY2024. For more information click Here.

South Asia Distribution Utility Network

Since the 1990s, USAID has been at the forefront of power sector reforms in South Asia, working in partnership with the country governments. In 2000, USAID launched the South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy (the current phase of the program is known as the South Asia Regional Initiatives for Energy Integration – SARI/EI). Additionally, USAID has been working in collaboration with SAARC, SAFIR and BIMSTEC in the area of regional energy cooperation across South Asia.

Most of the existing regional cooperation mechanisms in South Asia are focused towards generation capacity development particularly hydro power, grid interconnection, power trade/cross-border projects (investment in transmission and generation), renewable energy, and regulatory alignment. Power distribution until now has been perceived as a more localized subject with discussion mostly confined to stakeholders within respective countries. Most of the regional collaborative forums and platforms do not have distribution sector related coverage within their mandates. But a regional approach to sharing of best practices will be enormously beneficial. To serve this need, USAID, through the Asia EDGE Initiative and SAREH, is currently working towards establishing the South Asia Distribution Utility Network (abbreviated as DUN). This will be an informal network that will enable the sharing of knowledge, best practices and lessons learned among the South Asian power distribution companies.

Workshop on Regional Cooperation for Modernization of Power Distribution in South Asia

USAID conceptualized the DUN in January 2020 at a workshop called ‘Regional Cooperation for Modernization of Power Distribution in South Asia’. There was a consensus amongst the participants that this is a much needed and timely initiative, as no such distribution focused network currently exists in South Asia.

The South Asia Distribution Utility Network will achieve the following objectives

  1. Enable knowledge sharing among DISCOMs in South Asia
  2. Enhance focus on distribution issues at the regional level
  3. Enable utility to utility (U2U) connect
  4. Reap the benefits of aggregation

USAID has prepared a blueprint of the DUN in the form of a white paper. This white paper is being shared with relevant stakeholders in South Asia to sensitize them and get their concurrence on the blueprint of the network and further the process of implementation.