Background

Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the Afghan utility company relies on imports from neighbouring countries to meet 3/4th of its electricity needs and yet lights up only about a quarter of nation’s households. DABS has 2 about million consumers in the country.

The capital city Kabul with 2 million population now receives power 24 hours a day. USAID’s commercialization program has helped put DABS on a self-sustaining path aided by our mPower software implementations and consulting assignments.

Business Issues

  • Legacy billing system implemented in isolation without established commercial business processes
  • Very high distribution losses arising from unaccounted/ unmetered consumers, rampant power theft and poor collection efficiency
  • Non-existence of customer care processes.
  • Very low computerization and computer literacy.
  • Near absence of asset and maintenance management processes and best practices

Solution Delivered

Commercial business processes were drafted and implemented with baseline data. Legacy billing system was replaced with Fluentgrid CIS based billing system followed by automation of other commercial processes like new service release, disconnection/reconnection, revenue accounting, customer care, call center and self-service. All banks and public kiosks have been integrated to accept bill payments and mHawala mobile payments system was rolled out in association with Etisalat.

A business intelligence system was deployed in a centralized data center with ad-hoc reporting capability and visibility through executive dashboards. O&M capacity building was followed by CMMS implementation. Corporate management support program was followed by ERP implementation.

Benefits

  • System losses dropped from 70% in 2002 to 30% in 2014. Revenues increased by 15% every quarter since 2009.
  • Collection rates increased from less than 50% in 2002 to more than 90% in 2014
  • Better customer service through single window customer service centers and centralized call center
  • Corporatization and capacity building across all departments with improved computer literacy

Summary

DABS collected $220 million from the sale of electricity in 2012, an increase of 67 percent from 2010. During USAID’s commercialization project in Kabul from 2009 to 2012, DABS increased cash collections [for electricity bills] by 60 percent, decreased commercial losses from 50 to 38 percent, and increased cost recovery by 20 percent. Mobile payments system mHawala with Etisalat went live in 2013 with 100,000 registered consumers.

The commercialization program is now extended to five more provinces and plans are afoot to eventually roll out across the country in phases.

Sources:

https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/linked-documents/47282-001-dc.pdf

https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/frontlines/energy-infrastructure/powering-afghanistan