U.S. Deputy Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne yesterday hosted a reception in honor of journalists from across Afghanistan after they began a tour of the Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherket (DABS) facilities in Kabul. DABS is the first corporatized electric utility in Afghanistan and will soon expand its operations throughout the country. DABS was established in 2009 by the Government of Afghanistan in partnership with a $4 million grant from USAID and other donors.
“The U.S. looks forward to continuing to support the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan to build and expand the energy sector as the foundation of Afghanistan’s future economy,” said Ambassador Wayne. “DABS is integral to the successful function of energy infrastructure in Afghanistan.”
The journalists representing television and radio stations in Jalalabad, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Kandahar, and Helmand toured the DABS customer service center, the first of its kind, which features a call center, walk-in service, and bill payment through Kabul Bank. They viewed the GIS lab, which maps the electrical system to residences making billing and service issues easy to resolve. They also visited the 105 megawatt Tarakhil generation plant and National Load Control Center (NLCC). These facilities, built at an estimated cost of $300 million, were funded by the U.S. Government. The NLCC will enhance the reliability, effectiveness, efficiency and safety of the North East Power System operation and will provide crucial back-up services if imported electricity supplies are interrupted.
Dr. Mohammed Jalil Shams, Chief Executive Officer for DABS said, “U.S. Government assistance has helped provide a base for the corporatization of DABS and aided us in developing modern private sector practices as a basis of our operations. This will reduce corruption and provide better customer service.”
The U.S. Government, through USAID, has pledged another $40 million over the next two years as part of its overall $1.7 billion energy sector program in Afghanistan.