x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Northern emirates upgrade power grid

The northern emirates' electricity supplier announces a strengthening of its power transmission and distribution.

The federal supplier of electricity to the northern emirates, long hamstrung by acute power shortages, has announced what experts describe as a "modest" strengthening of power transmission and distribution in the area. According to the government news agency WAM, the Federal Electricity and Water Authority has approved a Dh172 million (US$47m) improvement programme that includes new power transmission stations in Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Dibba and Fujairah. It was reported that the approval, at an undisclosed meeting chaired by Mohammed al Hamili, the minister of energy, also included an upgrade of overhead lines of 132 KV and 33 KV in Masafi as well as the northern, eastern, western and central regions. The authority's remit is the northern Emirates, consisting of Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Umm al Qaiwain, as well as some rural areas of Sharjah. Officials from Fewa could not be reached for comment today. The move appeared to be intended to strengthen the system but was not enough meaningfully address the area's electricity woes, said said Robert Bryniak, CEO of Golden Sands Management Consulting. "It's not a lot; that's roughly $45 million," he said. "They are transmission lines, so what it means is that they are either upgrading connections or putting in connections." "It's true that it will strengthen the transmission system, but it's no different than getting an oil change for your car. I'd leave it in that context." Some officials in the northern Emirates said that, although unaware of Fewa's announcement, any such upgrade would be welcomed. "We haven't heard about this yet," said Dr Musabih Humaid, the head of Umm al Qaiwain Municipality, "but we surely need more of it [electricity]. We have a serious shortage of power here." hnaylor@thenational.ae