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

Updated 18 March 2014

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.

Meet Saudi Arabia’s artist to the kings

Saudi painter Hisham Binjabi’s stunning creations have become the choice of kings. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 9 min 43 sec ago

Meet Saudi Arabia’s artist to the kings

  • From the age of three, Hisham Binjabi has never lost his appetite for art

JEDDAH: When it comes to royal connections, Saudi painter Hisham Binjabi can truly claim to have made it an
art form.

During a lifetime at the easel, the unassuming Jeddah-based artist’s stunning creations have become the choice of kings.

And it all began at the age of just 14, when Binjabi painted a portrait of King Faisal and ended up presenting it in person to the late king of Saudi Arabia.

Further commissions were to follow, which resulted in Binjabi producing works of art not only for the Saudi royal family, but royalty in other countries too.

Today he owns two galleries in Jeddah from where he exhibits artwork and sculptures from around the world. 

Binjabi revealed his incredible story to Arab News while at work painting on canvas at a recent Jeddah book fair.

Hisham Binjabi made works of art not only for the Saudi royal family, but royalty in other countries too. (Photos/Supplied)

From the age of three, when he painted the walls of his family home in black, Binjabi has never lost his appetite for art. His talent was recognized at school where he was known as the “boy who paints,” and although he chose to major in science, a teacher spotted his artistic skills and taught him the basics of mixing colors.

Binjabi said: “After that I started to practice, and whenever I didn’t need to attend a class, I would escape to the painting room. As I became stronger with the use of colors, my teacher suggested I pick a subject to paint and I chose to do a portrait of King Faisal.”

After framing his picture, Binjabi was spotted carrying his creation down the street by the then-minister of education, who was so taken by it that he invited the teenager to present it to King Faisal himself. 

On the right track

The young artist continued to paint in his home and later studied English literature at King Abdul Aziz University, where again his talents were spotted. 

The dean of the university asked him to produce a painting to display in a tent, and this time the subject was to be camels.

During a visit to the campus, the then-King Khaled saw the painting and asked to meet the artist. “Before I knew it, I was standing in front of King Khaled,” said Binjabi. 

“The king asked me why I had painted camels, and I told him that camels were the friends of Bedouin people.”

The king invited Binjabi to go to Riyadh and attend the first ever Janadriyah Festival, and from then on his works became highly prized by royalty. The then-Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz asked him to produce a painting of his guests, a French prince and Sheikh Zayed of the UAE, watching camels through binoculars. 

As a result, Binjabi was invited to stay at Sheikh Zayed’s palace in Abu Dhabi, where he spent four months painting a family portrait for the leader.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was to be another of Binjabi’s distinguished clients, and even while studying for a Master’s degree in Lebanon, he painted for the king of Lebanon.

He said: “It did get overwhelming. I never asked to be associated with royalty, it just happened. Something in my heart kept pushing me along and telling me I was on the right track.”

Today he still represents the Kingdom in many different countries. 

“My life is full of stories about art which I find inspirational,” Binjabi added.