Power outages in Saudi Arabia ‘hard to avoid’: head of electricity agency


The head of Saudi Arabia’s Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority said on Tuesday that it was “hard to avoid” power outages across the Kingdom but that his agency would ensure that no major outage incidents happen in the future.

“Saudi electricity is committed to global standards, but this year’s power outages may have been due to circumstances beyond our control, including the dramatic rise in temperature with the increasing electricity consumption during the holy month of Ramadan, which have led to a high demand of energy consumption at a high rate of over 9 percent and reached in some areas to 15 percent,” Abdullah Mohammad al-Shehri told Al Arabiya.

Shehri has also pointed out that the authority is preparing to restructure “the Saudi Electricity Company” by allowing the private sector to invest and enter the renewable electricity sector.

The authority is preparing an extensive study to find out causes of power outages in different parts of the Kingdom. “Causes of interruption are diverse and vary from one region to another,” he added.

However, several neighborhoods in Jeddah have been suffering from daily power outages that usually start at dawn. Residents of these areas eat their sohour, the pre-fasting meal, on candlelight and the dawn call for prayers is made without a microphone.

Saudi Electricity Company has issued a statement that the electricity distributing network was experiencing technical problems, which have led to electricity service interruption in various locations, adding to the increasing electricity consumption during Ramadan.

The electrical company has confirmed new projects for building power stations, electricity transmission and distribution stations and networks. Besides, there are ongoing projects to connect regions across the Kingdom to one electrical network worth SR100 billion ($26.6) billion. In addition to increasing production capacity of about 15 thousand MW during the next three years, this represents 30 percent of current capacity.