New initiatives to boost efficiency of energy and water supplies

Oman Monday 04/March/2024 18:23 PM
New initiatives to boost efficiency of energy and water supplies

Muscat: The Authority for Public Services Regulation (APSR) launched 4 new initiatives aimed at improving the quality of services offered to subscribers and enhancing the efficiency of energy and water supplies.

The launch of the new initiatives took place during APSR’s annual gathering held at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday.

The initiatives’ launch was also aimed at meeting the rising demand for electricity and water services in line with population growth and economic activity.

The 1st initiative deals with direct compensation for supply companies’ failure to deliver proper electricity service to subscribers. It provides that if the operating companies do not adhere to standards, the licensee must pay the compensation due to the subscriber by deducting the equivalent sum from the subscriber’s electricity bill.

The 2nd initiative pertains to the announcement of 5 new stations to produce electricity with wind energy. They are “Dhofar 2” station (capacity of 132 megawatts), Sadah station (capacity of 99 megawatts), Duqm station (capacity of 270 megawatts), Mahout station (capacity of 400 megawatts) and Jaalan Bani Bu Ali station (capacity of 105 megawatts).

Renewable energy

These stations augment the contribution of the renewable energy sector in the Sultanate of Oman to 30 percent of the total electrical energy production by 2030. They also raise the proportion of investment in energy production from alternative sources.

The 3rd initiative deals with the Direct Sales Project in the electricity market in Oman.

It constitutes a significant step forward in enhancing transparency and attracting investments in the energy sector. The project was introduced for the first time in late 2022.

The second phase of the project was launched recently and its regulatory framework was endorsed. The process allows stations (whose contracts with Oman Power and Water Procurement Company have expired) to ink contracts directly with major new consumers.

The 4th initiative deals with household wastewater treatment stations. It is aimed at accelerating the pace of coverage of wastewater services in Oman and cutting down capital and operational costs of sewage networks and station projects.

During the gathering, APSR reviewed the regulatory frameworks that it issued during 2023. It outlined audit tasks carried out on the performance of companies licensed to operate in the sectors of water, wastewater and electricity, as well as OQ natural gas transport services.

Dr. Mansour Talib Al Hinai, Chairman of APSR, said that there was a 97 percent rise in the percentage of actual readings in electricity and a 75 percent rise in the water sector.

Acting in cooperation with service supply firms, the APSR helped cut down the number of working days required to deliver the water service to subscribers from 9 to 15 days, said Al Hinai, adding that the working days in the electricity sector were cut from 5 to 2 days.

Al Hinai pointed out that the total number of smart meters installed within the electricity sector stood at more than 676,000 by the end of 2023, compared to 332,000 smart meters within the water sector.

Giving a breakup, Al Hinai said that business tasks awarded to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the service sectors were: RO 22 million in electricity sector, RO 40 million in the water and wastewater sector and RO 11 million in the natural gas transportation sector.

The APSR is working hand in hand with other authorities concerned to contribute towards the realisation of net zero neutrality by 2050.

To this effect, the Authority granted its approval to Nama Power and Water Procurement Company to award “Manah 1” and “Manah 2” solar energy projects to international investors, said Al Hinai.

The two projects will be set up in the Wilayat of Manah in the Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah and they will produce a total of 1,000 megawatts—each plant delivering 500 megawatts, with an investment value worth more than OMR300 million. -ONA