Installation of smart meters to take 8 years at a cost of SR7bn

Updated 18 March 2014
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Installation of smart meters to take 8 years at a cost of SR7bn

The Electricity and Co-generation Regulatory Authority (ECRA) said the estimated cost of installing smart meters will amount to SR7 billion, and the time for the implementation process will take up to 8 years.
Abdullah Al-Shahri, governor of ECRA, was quoted saying to a local newspaper that a national supervisory committee has been formed with the participation of the Ministry of Electricity and Water and a number of relevant bodies to implement the trial phase of the meters’ installation, and to discuss possible solutions to technical and administrative problems that may emerge following their installation.
He said the Electricity Company has carried out a number of trial projects to be familiar with the performance of the meters, the extent of their resistance to heat and various communication means. He added that 6,000 digital meters will be installed for all industrial subscribers.
“Work is currently underway to install 40 thousand meters for major commercial subscribers to begin with,” explained Al-Shahri, adding, “The whole integrated plan needs high funding and much more time.”
The study estimated the initial cost of the installation of smart meters to stand at SR7 billion, he said noting, “But they will yield much more than that to the company and our national economy given the savings in the fuel to operate and manage the electricity loads.”
Commenting on the news recently circulated on the chairmanship of the Ministry of Electricity to the board of directors of the ECRA, and its governor as a deputy, he asserted that there is no conflict of interests in this regard.
He said that that the ECRA board includes 12 members besides the chairman. “The members include the governor, 6 members representing relevant government bodies, and 5 independent members appointed through a decision by the Council of Ministers,” he explained.
He explained that the decisions of the ECRA require the approval of the majority for their endorsement. “This is the case with the other authorities in the Kingdom such as the Communications & Information Technology Commission which is chaired by the Minister of Communication and Information Technology and has the governor of ECRA as his deputy, the Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (Modon) with the Minister of Commerce and Industry as the chairman of board of directors,” he said.
He said that supervising the financial and administrative independence of ECRA is under the control of the Council of Ministers, much like the rest of the independent bodies of the ministries. Its accounts also, he explained are included in the monitoring process of the General Auditing Bureau. “This involves, of course, monitoring its performance, assuming its responsibilities and the handling of its accounts by outside auditors,” he added.
It is worth mentioning that ECRA assumes the tasks of issuing the executive lists of the technical, environmental, procedural and operational rules as well as the necessary licensing concerning any electrical activity. It also sets out the performance standards for licensees to meet before issuing the required licenses.


World-famous Italian opera house orchestra debuts in Saudi Arabia

Updated 1 min 17 sec ago
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World-famous Italian opera house orchestra debuts in Saudi Arabia

  • Organized by the Saudi Culture Ministry, “An Italian Opera Journey” took place at the King Fahd Cultural Center
  • The Kingdom’s first opera house will be built in Jeddah, and is scheduled for completion in 2022

RIYADH: Residents in Riyadh were treated on Friday to some of the best that Italian opera had to offer, with a performance by the symphony orchestra of the Teatro Alla Scala Academy, which made its debut in Saudi Arabia.

La Scala is one of the most famous opera houses in the world, dating back almost 250 years. 

The academy offers world-class training in all disciplines of symphony, opera and ballet, under the supervision of famous musicians. 

Organized by the Saudi Culture Ministry, “An Italian Opera Journey” took place at the King Fahd Cultural Center. 

Only registration was required to attend the free event, which sold out almost instantly, with 3,000 music lovers, artists and poets enjoying an hour of beautiful tributes to classical music.

The show opened with a surprise performance of the Kingdom’s national anthem by Saudi opera singer Sawsan Al-Bahiti, who received a standing ovation for her rendition. 

Al-Bahiti was invited by the ministry to perform at the event as part of its efforts to showcase national talents.

The orchestra was conducted by maestro Pietro Mianetti, and featured performances by soprano Francisca Manzo and tenor Ricardo Della Sciucca. 

Some of the most iconic pieces from 19th-century Italian opera were performed. 

At the end of the show, a standing ovation led to an encore.

Deputy Culture Minister Hamed Fayez took to Twitter to express how much he enjoyed the evening. 

“A beautiful night spent with the esteemed La Scala opera at the King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh, amidst a wonderful crowd, with an exceptional performance from our Italian guests,” he tweeted, posting photos. The performance is one of the ministry’s efforts to attract high-quality artistic events that enrich the Saudi cultural landscape and enhance quality of life. 

The Kingdom’s first opera house will be built in Jeddah, and is scheduled for completion in 2022. 

The institution aims to become the new home of a Saudi resident orchestra. 

The Kingdom has also seen the opening of a music institute by famed Egyptian violinist Mahmoud Sorour, with a second music institute in the works.