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Utility Performance Improvement Lead

Organization : USAID Southeast Asia’s Smart Power Program (“SE Asia Smart Power”)

USAID Southeast Asia’s Smart Power Program (“SE Asia Smart Power”)

Utility Performance Improvement Lead – Job Description


Organization Overview


Abt Associates’ International Development Division (IDD) manages projects that are pioneering new approaches in governance, energy, health, agriculture, food security, climate change, and economic growth—as well as monitoring and evaluating projects within these sectors. We work throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East for chiefly governmental clients, including the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Project Description


The anticipated five-year, USAID Southeast Asia’s Smart Power Program (“SE Asia Smart Power”) will be a task order under the Energy II IDIQ designed to support and assist USAID and SE Asian partner countries achieve sustainable economic growth through targeted energy sector reforms. These reforms will promote energy security in the SE Asia region by improving reliability, increasing access, and providing affordable electricity as well as supporting countries and their utilities achieve financial stability and avoid adverse health impacts from the energy sector by accelerating clean energy solutions. Toward these ends, the project will be structured to include the following six tasks:


  • Task 1: Southeast Asia Power Utility Modernization
  • Task 2: Southeast Asia Cooling Efficiency
  • Task 3: Southeast Asia Energy Innovation and Emerging Trends
  • Task 4: Southeast Asia Center for Competitive Procurement
  • Task 5: Southeast Asia Power Trade and Grid Integration
  • Task 6: Support to the Asia Gas Partnership


Job Summary


Abt Associates seeks a qualified Utility Performance Improvement Lead to execute USAID’s SE Asia Smart Power program technical activities under Task 1 Southeast Asia Power Utility Modernization. The Utility Performance Improvement Lead will manage a team to improve SE Asian utilities’ financial viability, operational efficiency, corporate governance, and management practices, leading technical assistance, training, and/or peer to peer exchange programs responsive to utility needs. The Lead will also work to leverage additional donor, multilateral development bank, and private sector funding so that utilities can adopt new practices, processes and technologies. The position will be based in Abt’s Bangkok office and is contingent upon program award and USAID approval.


Key Roles and Responsibilities


  • Reports to the Technical Deputy Chief of Party.
  • Provides leadership, management and supports strategic direction, including managing a team of technical specialists focused on utility operations, utility restructuring, workforce development, financial advisors, pilot programs, cybersecurity, private sector engagement, third party access, customer regularization, advanced metering systems, and energy efficiency/demand side management.
  • Provides technical leadership on all power utility performance improvement and modernization activities, ensuring alignment with the program’s overall vision and cross-cutting deliverables and reporting.
  • Leads the development of utility assessments, plans, and analyses.
  • Supports technical assistance to design, test, and evaluate new technologies and methodologies for customer regularization and metering.
  • Explores benefits of creating a complementary regional power utility partnership with utilities, the Heads of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Power Utilities/Authorities (HAPUA), and other industry associations to increase assistance to under-resourced areas and utilities.
  • Leads capacity building workshops for utilities including developing workshop training materials and working with project staff to organize workshop logistics.
  • Along with the private sector, manages the design and coordination of pilot programs to make the business and analytical case that improved operational practices and technological upgrades build sustainable operational performance in utilities.
  • Liaises with MEL manager on task-relevant data collection, monitoring and evaluation activities.
  • Supports knowledge management and communications on energy innovation and emerging trends.
  • Coordinates cross-cutting activities with other task leads, the communications manager, the MEL manager, Gender Equity and Social Inclusion Lead, and the senior management team including the Director of Partnerships and Communications, the Technical Deputy Chief of Party, the Operations Deputy Chief of Party, and the Chief of Party.




  • A Master’s degree in economics, energy/environmental policy, or a related field.
  • 10+ years of experience leading, managing, or implementing utility modernization projects, preferably in SE Asian countries.
  • Advanced knowledge and experience training stakeholders in developing countries on reducing utility technical and non-technical losses, preferably in SE Asia countries.
  • Experience working with governments to develop transparent corporate governance and management practices for utilities, regulators, and other relevant energy sector institutions.
  • Previous experience working with and involving private sector developers, investors, and other relevant stakeholders into power sector modernization interventions.
  • Previous experience supporting utility modernization projects for USAID is preferred.
  • Knowledge of USAID partner countries’ renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate change policies, laws, and capacity constraints.
  • Demonstrated capacity in facilitating in-depth and effective dialogues with internal team as well as with external stakeholders.
  • Experience managing teams, consultants and sub-contractors to ensure high-quality and timely submission of technical work and deliverables.
  • Highly self-motivated and adaptable to learning and understanding new concepts.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team-oriented, collaborative environment.
  • Strong oral, written, and interpersonal skills are required.
  • Fluency in English is required; knowledge of a regionally relevant second language is an asset (Thai, Lao, Khmer, Vietnamese, Tagalog/Filipino, Bahasa Indonesia, etc.).      









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