Are Smart Grids the Only Solution to the Electricity Crisis? And How WiMAX Can Help?

Naeem-Zamindar---CEO-WateenBy Naeem Zamindar

The past twenty years have been an extraordinary time for the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) – with the ‘mobile miracle’ we have brought the benefits of ICTs within reach of virtually all the world’s people. It is now time to make the next step, and to ensure that everyone – wherever they live, and whatever their circumstances – have access to the benefits of broadband.

This is not just about delivering connectivity for connectivity’s sake, or even about giving people access to the undoubted benefits of social communications. It is about leveraging the power of broadband technologies, and especially mobile technologies, to make the world a better place.

Broadband has become a key priority of the 21st Century, and I believe its transformative power as an enabler for economic and social growth makes it an essential tool for empowering people, creating an environment that nurtures the technological and service innovation, and triggering positive change in business processes as well as in society as a whole.

Increased adoption and use of broadband in the next decade and beyond will be driven by the extent to which broadband-supported services and applications are not only made available to, but are also relevant and affordable for consumers.

A broader view needs to be taken for broadband proliferation and the Government’s long-term digital strategy needs to be aligned with its economic objectives. The ITU and UNESCO Broadband Commission for Digital Development are striving to meet the eight Millennium Development Goals signed by all nations, including Pakistan, in 2000. The Broadband Challenge and Broadband Targets 2015 adopted by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in October 2011 consist of a set of four targets for making broadband policy universal and for boosting affordability and broadband uptake:

  • Target 1: Making broadband policy universal. By 2015, all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their Universal Access/Service Definitions;
  • Target 2: Making broadband affordable. By 2015, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces (for example, amount to less than 5% of average monthly income);
  • Target 3: Connecting homes to broadband. By 2015, 40% of households in developing countries should have Internet access;
  • Target 4: Getting people online. By 2015, Internet user penetration should reach 60% worldwide, 50% in developing countries and 15% in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Although the current growth is encouraging, is it enough for us to leap forward and compete with the rest of the world? Technology and progress are recurrently linked together and in today’s day and age. Governments and businesses want to measure the real growth, with transparency of results and visibility to manage their operations.

Energy Crisis and How Communication Networks Can Play a Role:

The electricity crisis in the country has been a thorn in the backside of not just the existing government, but the previous one as well. The current and the former PM’s have also stated that eliminating the electricity short-fall is the top priority for them. Having said that, the easiest and most direct way of eliminating the shortfall has been sought through developing new sources of power generation, majority of which through IPP’s (Independent Power Producers).

Over the last 10 years, we have witnessed the mushrooming of new power projects that have renewed hope in the system and have given relief for a short period of time. However, the power crisis continues to be a sore point for the Government. However, it is time we review the options for improving the efficiency of our electricity supply and management. Are IPP’s the only viable way to address the issue?

In my opinion, they are partly the solution. Thanks to advancement in technology, smart solutions are available and being implemented internationally for improving electricity supply and management.

The smart grid is bringing the electric utility industry into the 21st century. In combination with smart meters, the smart grid enables consumers to monitor their energy usage. For utilities, it eliminates house-to-house meter reading, makes possible the remote connection and disconnection of electric power, and sends automatic alerts when outages occur.

Through smart meters, the scourge of electricity theft can be eliminated with ease, as detection of theft is made simpler.The smart grid enables retail electric providers to offer time-of-use rates that differentiate peak and off-peak consumption to encourage electricity consumers to shift their consumption patterns accordingly.

Developing a communications network is critical to meet this goal. The mass of information accumulated by smart meters is of no value unless it can be transmitted reliably to the utility data center and processed. Hence, there is a critical need for an effective communications network. Besides the above, the following standards should be adhered to:

  • A comprehensive coverage design needs to be planned and two-way communication between the endpoints (to cell relays [meter data collectors] and intelligent grid switching devices) are ensured.
  • Sufficient data throughput capacity to transmit 96 interval readings a day from each meter, and to execute all service orders generated.
  • Be reliable in all conditions, particularly storm conditions as Pakistan is susceptible to extreme weather conditions, especially during monsoons.
  • Be secure, adhering to strict cyber-security standards.
  • Be scalable to keep pace with ever-increasing amounts of data as more smart meters and intelligent grid switching devices are installed in the years ahead.
  • Have adequate fail-over and redundancy to ensure backup in the event of a component failure.

SmartGrid-Ecosystem

Some people may call me a dreamer and argue that this progress may only add to the cost of delivering electricity. I however, believe otherwise. The challenge for Pakistan is not only to overcome electricity shortfall, but to better manage its delivery system. The above method has been adopted in developing countries like the US and need to be implemented in Pakistan to get real-time access and accurate control over power delivery.

These steps will go a long way in ensuring the results are transparent and will help the Government in supporting policies for particular industries in order to meet its macro economic targets.


  • _gm

    smart grid without the current in it :)

  • M.Aswad Mehtab

    Although things are not looking good, But we have to start adopting new tech. some where and some how …

  • Muhammad Irfan Raza Attari

    Kindly remove tax on Solar Panels. One time investment and get free electritcity.

  • billo

    people dont believe on naeem zamindar saying. He joined company in last year and due to in poor perfomance, this year wateen laid off 700 to 800 employees and wateen wimax business is near to end.

    • Billo ka dushman

      Have you even read what the guy is saying? Can you even comprehend what is this industry and how does it work? Don’t blame people for your inadequacies. Get a life and learn some manners.

      • billo

        dear fellow. i know him very much better then you as i was also part of wateen. It’s been 5 to 6 years of wateen birth and naeem zamindar is first ceo who laid off around 800 employees. as he dont have abilities to run this company. he is just to get his pocket heavy. You can confirm this news from market. Buddy always pehlay tolo phir bolo

        • Billo ka Dushman

          Billo bhai… It seems you were one of the people laid off and rightly so because of your negative attitude and inability to learn. I have probably been in the industry for longer than you and give credit where it is due. Please refresh my memory…. Did TM not lay off anyone at Wateen before Naeem joined? Same back at you bro

          • billo

            Dear fellow, you did not get my point. It may be right you spent long time in wimax industry. I was involved in direct selling. You can only get market feedback if only you are involved in sales brother. TM gave us bonus, u dont know how good TM was. ask any old wateen employee about TM and u will know. Major major heads had to resign due to NZ policies. buddy, qubee fired all his direct sales staff, witribe is struggling very hard and wateen dont have devices right now. Wimax industry is in its struggling stage, qubee is surviving, witribe is surviving, wateen is surviving only because of fibre not bc pf wimax. wimax is in worse condition in wateen. in islamabad, rawalpindi several company offices of wateen are closed. if you dont believe just hand around market and get feedback. its very eas to say, first surbey. and rest you said i have negative attitute, buddy i spend 3 and half years in wateen in sales, and since wateen relaunch in november 2011, i was topper among my fellows.If you are in this industry so you better know how much churn, how much rechage, how much loss all three companies of wimax are going. first research, visit market and then speak. You i think that employee of wimax who sits in AC, COLD ROOMS, LUCH PUSH OFFICE OF WIMAX, MAKE CHARTS, MAKE STORIES. AREN’T U?

            • Billo ka Dushman

              Haha… You answered everything within your reply. WiMAX industry is struggling because of the direct sales employees who sold more than 50% devices only for 55% of these to be inactive within the first month. WiMAX operators make money on recurring subscription charges and not on the sale of device which they are already subsidizing for a customer. This is the problem the industry is facing. People who work in the WiMAX industry don’t understand how the organization is going to make money. They are just there to make their own bonuses

              • billo

                Shukar hai aap meri baat samajh gaye. Brother intitially direct sales people are those who even tell the difference between DSL and wimax to customers. Direct sales people are those who introduced wimax product in market even. Yes i admit direct sales people also do wrong selling but in direct sale job, sale pressure is also there and top management all day on your toes to generate sales. You know wateen closed its direct sales department, all business centres in pakistan, closed dozen of franchises. in november 2011 wateen did relaunch spend 3 times more budget then start of company and relaunch fail miserably. Naeem zamindar is that ceo who laid off employees in a very big ratio and employees in company is seeing dark times ahead

                • Rocket Scientist

                  @10733f448b5925f367443d063869017d:disqus Is this article about Wateen? I agree wit @a9d303ed80f594571c2ed549c4b41b69:disqus that you have probably not even read the article and just hold a grudge against NZ. Its part of Pakistani heritage unfortunately to cry and feel sorry for their own in competencies and always wanting sympathy.

                  Direct sale staff is mostly people who don not even understand what they are selling! All they care about is commission which they do deserve rightfully but there are some ethics that should be followed…. wait why the hell am i writing about this… this is not about Wateen or direct sales.

                  Don’t be a politician and say tum naay yeh kliya woh kiya ye howa woh howa! GET A LIFE!

                  • billo

                    ethics u r living in pakistan. i think u rf from usa or uk. koi naee aik din market ja kar kuch sell kar kay dikhaoo. din mein taray nazar a jayeein gay

                    • Rocket Scientist

                      @10733f448b5925f367443d063869017d:disqus Exactly the kind of attitude that has brought Pakistan down! Its thinking in this manner that is the real crime not the surrounding!

                      I am very much from & in Pakistan and I do know sales and the market as I have been part of it. If I try to sell something that I dont understand and not passionate about, tou bilkul taray nazar ajaaingay! but Mr. pehlaay product ko samjho phir agaay baaicho. No wonder people get their ass fired. Perform and work, dont perform and get fired thats how life is.

                    • billo

                      hahahahha. nice bookish definitions. bacha lagta hai abhee abheee kotler kee marketing parh kar jawan hoa ha i taza taza. koi nahee khair hai. abhee kuch din nasha rahay ga phir bahir market mein nikal kar kuch bech kar dikhaeeen. logon ko din mein taray nazar atay hein ap ko tu aik banda char char nazar aye gaaa. hahah

                    • Rocket Scientist

                      no comment kid. no comment.

                    • billo

                      i know u r unable to make any comment becuase u never did field sales job. kabheee market mein nikla kr kuch bech kar dikha betay. aik kam kar chal aik pencil hee echa kar dikha mujhay. agar kamayab ho gay aik even pencil bechnay mein then tujhay aik new car gift karoon ga. bech lay ga bp bublle bar betayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

                    • Rocket Scientist

                      What a pathetic loser! No wonder you got fired if you can not even sell a pencil.

                      Good Job Mr.Naeem Zamindar for firing non performing losers! God Bless you!

                    • billo

                      oh bhai rizq ALLAH KAY HATH MEIN HAI. dont be so maghroor. tera sath ALLAH na karay kuch aisa ho. Bhai jan mein nay kuch bechnay ka challange diya hai tujhay. batt gol moal na kar. agar tujh mein himmat hai tu kuch bhee bech kar dikha mujhay munnnnay. batein karna bohat asan hai but practical karna bohat mushkil. Sale kee job mein pent utar jatee hotee hai glucose kay dabbay. only books mein ya website smein comment kar lay luch nahee banta. himmat hai tu samna kar bp bubble bar. tujhay bech kar tu mein cholay kha jaoo. aik second mein. dont ever compete sale people. chootooo

                    • Rocket Scientist

                      There is no doubt that Allah is the provider and makes ways for it. Not being Maghror mister and Jazzakallah for the dua “tera sath ALLAH na karay kuch aisa ho” Ameen to it and same for you and every one else. I might have said something hurtful so please do forgive me. Don’t take my comment out of contrast, it is to the point. The Article is very nicely done and true course of action.

                      Regarding Sales, I am into sales for the past 14 years so I know its tough. Ethics matter be it Pakistan or Europe and for the matter they should matter more in Pakistan. It is our country and we should not treat it with disrespect by having a mind set that anything goes cause its Pakistan. This is negative thinking and has taken our country to where it is at right now (this goes in all aspects of our daily life)

                      My point once again is that this article is about a positive approach to technology so it should be kept to it. It is rather immature for arguing about non-related and very childish thing on here. It is a very shameful act on my part as well that I played into this argument and kept it so this is my final comment on the matter unless something positive is said.

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  • Interestingly Power companies or authorities like WAPDA does not need support of Wi-Max or any third tele-com company to implement such systems… they are already using their Power-Lines for data-communications. Discussions on such Centeralized Smart System is there since early 1990’s… many local companies offered solutions and Smart-Meters are also deployed… Unfortunately our real problem is not the technology know-how; but the corrupt and incapable decision makers promoted to high levels violating ‘merit’ :(

  • Saad Durrani

    It would have been much better if Mr. Zamindar would have minded his own business. No one trusts a CEO whose company is down in the dump even if he is trying to tell how to make gold out of thin air.

    • billo

      excellent comment

  • He is supposed to be a senior member of the company and cant seem to write correct English. Pata nahi zardari key parchi may zamidar aah gaya ho ga.

  • Naeem Zimadar is ripping people off by capping unlimited connections to 40GB. When I demanded why they did this without informing me they sent me this stupid email:

    Thank you for contacting Wateen Telecom. This Email is in response to your query regarding slow internet speed.

    This to bring in your kind notice that you have exceeded the fair usage date limit. System has taken your speed down as per below mentioned chart;

    Fair Usage Counter:

    WiMAX – Fair Usage

    Subscribed Speed

    Data Caps (GBs)

    Downgrade Speed

    512 kbps – UL

    30

    128 kbps

    1 Mbps – UL

    40

    256 Kbps

    2 Mbps – UL

    60

    512 Kbps

    .

    Furthermore, as per your duly signed CSAF (Customer Services Agreement Form) Company reserves the rights to alter and change any policy without the prior notice. Thank you for understanding.

    If you require any further assistance, please feel free to contact us through any of following channels or visit us online at http://www.wateen.com:

    • Contact Center: 111-365-111

    • Post: P.O. Box 3527, G.P.O. Lahore

    • Facebook.com/wateentelecomltd

    • Email: [email protected]