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MENAFN - Arab News - 19/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) An official at the Ministry of Water and Electricity has said that the ministry is discussing a mechanism to enforce insulation requirements in home construction projects with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs. He said owners' failure to comply may be denied electricity and water connections.

Dr. Saleh Al-Awaji, Undersecretary for Electricity Affairs, said that a pre-paid card system is being discussed and may be implemented simultaneously with the execution of the ministry's smart meters project. Smart meters are now implemented in the industrial sector and will be implemented in the commercial sector.

In an interview in Al-Madina newspaper, Al-Awaji said that the current power link with companies in the GCC countries' involves sharing reserves only and is not a power-exchange. However, efforts are being exerted to establish a joint GCC market for power exchanges based on bilateral agreements.

Awareness campaigns on rationalizing the use of electricity are one of the tools that help in rationalizing the use of electricity "although we need more attractive means to send awareness messages to consumers."

There are many ways to preserve power, including carrying out constructions on a scientific basis. "Thermal insulation saves 40 to 50 percent of power consumption resulted from the use of air conditioners, which represents the majority of consumption, especially in the summer." "A royal decree was issued several years ago forcing the installation of insulation in buildings but we still construct buildings with no insulation. This, and the improper use of electrical appliances, is an unnecessary waste of power."

Another factor contributing to the overconsumption of power is the usage of electrical appliances of poor quality, especially air conditioners. They [unnecessarily] increase consumption by 10 to 15 percent. "There must be a quality-control mechanism for imported and domestically-manufactured appliances whereby they meet a minimum quality standard."

He said that a project for the countries to share their reserves was being operated. "Before operation, there was some skepticism about its feasibility, but then all countries saw the major benefits." He said there is a plan to establish a power link between the Kingdom and Egypt that awaits the approval of higher authorities. The ministry also intends to benefit from the European electricity market "but this requires more investments and more international agreements because the territories of other countries will be involved."

A link with a country like Egypt would be highly beneficial. Egypt has equal or similar electricity loads throughout the year while in Saudi Arabia the consumption varies largely in summer and winter. "As Egypt faces the difficulty of scheduling maintenance for its plants because they are running all year, it could use the Saudi surplus electric power in winter while some of its plants are being maintained. Saudi Arabia could in turn could benefit from Egypt's electricity at peak times.

"Peak times differ between the two countries because electricity here is mostly used for air conditioning, so the peak time (in summer) would be noon and afternoon. In Egypt electricity is mostly used for lightening and its peak times are after sunset."


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