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.


Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. (SPA)
Updated 22 September 2019

Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

  • Debris major cause of death for marine life
  • Disintegration of plastic waste threaten human food resources

JEDDAH: A beach cleanup program targeting marine waste has been launched by the Red Sea Development Co. (TRSDC), the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The firm, which is behind the development of a luxury seafront tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, is already developing a range of environment-friendly policies such as zero-waste-to-landfill, zero-discharge-to-the-sea, zero-single-use plastics, and achieving 100 percent carbon neutrality. On Saturday it launched the Marine Debris Beach Clean Up Program as part of the Red Sea Project. “Eliminating marine debris is receiving increasing attention from the media that it has become a global cause, urging us to participate in protecting our virgin environment for which our seafront is known,” said TRSDC CEO John Pagano.
“The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. It will also shed light on the importance of reducing the use of nonrecyclable plastics, in addition to encouraging the disposing of these substances in a safe and sustainable manner.”
The TRSDC will continue to explore ways for recycled materials to be a source of employment opportunities for the area’s residents, he added. 
TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land. It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

HIGHLIGHTS

• TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land.

• It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

• Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach cleanup program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject

Dr. Rusty Brainard, chief environment officer at TRSDC, said: “Marine debris causes significant damage to the environment and is a major cause of death for many marine organism species, which may ingest these substances. Moreover, the disintegration of plastic waste into small pieces that penetrate into the food web base may also threaten human food resources. Our program for eliminating marine litter is a long-term project that includes ongoing monitoring of environmental health, as well as periodic intervention to clean up any waste in the Red Sea Project.”
TRSDC has teamed up with leading academic institutions in the Kingdom, such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the University of Tabuk, on a number of educational initiatives, added Brainard.
The partnership between TRSDC and KAUST has led to an international competition — “Brains for Brine” — that encourages academics, scientists, engineers and the water industry to find solutions for managing the disposal of brine, which is a waste product of water desalination, in a sustainable and commercially viable way.
KAUST has also helped TRSDC with marine spatial planning for the Red Sea Project.
As part of the planning process, major environmental studies were carried out to ensure that the area’s sensitive ecology was protected both during and after completion of the development.
The final master plan, which preserves around 75 percent of the destination’s islands for conservation and designates nine islands as sites of significant ecological value, required several redesigns to avoid potential disruption to endangered species native to the area.
Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach clean-up program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject