x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Power cuts of up to eight hours to start in capital this month

As Abu Dhabi municipality works to update the power system, residents should expect regular electricity outages.

ABU DHABI // Residents can expect regular electricity cuts starting this month as officials work to switch the capital to a more efficient power system.

All of the power substations on Abu Dhabi island will be converted to an automatic system that will allow the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) to repair problems remotely. These updates to the system will be carried out during routine maintenance that will leave residents without power for up to eight hours at a time.

Residents affected by the scheduled cuts will be informed days before the event, according to Robert Emerson, an adviser with ADDC.

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"The whole idea is to reduce the time taken to restore supply to the customers," Mr Emerson said. "What we're doing is working so that when we have a problem, we can restore power to customers quickly without having to send someone to the substation."

The aim of the automation project is to have all of the island's substations accessible from a control centre. ADDC has been working to fit remote controls to all the substations for two years, and the project is expected to be completed within five years.

"It takes too long to send an engineer to fix every problem at every substation, so automation is going to make it so that all substations can be connected to one control centre," said Abu Bakr, an engineer with ADDC.

Residents living near Airport Road and Al Saada Street received notices this week that power would be shut off for six hours this weekend for maintenance. That project will be postponed for three weeks, Mr Emerson said, because ADDC is dealing with a problem at other substations.

Over the next five years, residents in every sector on the island can expect ADDC to perform automation updates.

"Every neighbourhood should expect maintenance-related outages anyway, because it's necessary to maintain switchgear," Mr Emerson said. "We want to ensure the system is operating correctly and safely."

jthomas@thenational.ae