10 centres for Sharjah power breakdowns

‘Peak Hour’ campaign urges consumers to switch off at least one unwanted appliance for one hour from 2.30pm to 3.30pm. (Supplied)

Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) is taking a number of initiatives to improve availability of water and electricity in the emirate through a multipronged strategy and an important focus is by encouraging customers to switch off unwanted appliances for one hour.

‘Peak Hour’ is Sewa’s new campaign starting on July 1, 2015, to encourage consumers including government departments, mosques, shopping malls and other private sector players to switch off at least one unwanted appliance for one hour from 2.30pm to 3.30pm, and reduce the pressure on the emirate’s electricity and water infrastructure during summer.

Under the guidance of His Highness Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and the Ruler of Sharjah, the campaign will be an annual initiative to conserve energy and water. Sewa has been running awareness campaigns for energy and water conservation and has been promoting the use of energy-saving devices and promoting water conservation packages.

In the past, Sharjah witnessed power failures during summer months, and the new chairman of Sewa is determined to ensure a smooth flow of water and power through all the arteries of the emirate.

Speaking about ‘Peak Hour’, Dr Rasheed Al Leem, Chairman, Sewa, said an analysis of power and water consumption in Sharjah for the last five years indicated electricity infrastructures come under pressure between 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

‘Peak Hour’ campaign targets an energy and water conservation of 30 per cent.

Recently three new emergency services opened in Al Rahmania, Wadi Al Hilo and Al Zabara to take care of emergency situations in their surroundings, taking the number of such stations to 10. They are equipped with state-of-the-art communication and wireless devices and emergency vehicles.

Until May 2014, there were just two emergency centers in the emirate – in Sharjah Industrial Area and Nasiriya. And two centres in Khorfakan and Kalbe addressed power emergency problems in the Eastern Zone.

The new emergency centres are established in strategic locations to meet requirements of newly developed areas.

Al Rahmania Centre (covers Al Rahmania, Al Zubair and Al Saja industrial areas). Al Zubara centre – Khorfakan – will serve Eastern Zone. The Wadi Al Hilo emergency centre will cover 20km area of Kalba area.

The Al Majas Emergency Centre will take care of Al Khan industrial area 1, Layyah, Nahda and Khalidia; Al Juraina Centre will take care of the University City Road. Hamariy Emergency Centre will serve Hamriyah Free Zone.

“We are a service-driven organisation and cannot afford to have disruption of electricity and water supply. Electricity, water and gas supply are three pillars of competitiveness. We have looked into the history of electricity and water consumption in the last five years and found that July 1 has seen the maximum use of electricity and water during one hour – 2200MW of electricity and 11 million gallons of water. There is electricity and water shortage in the emirate and we want to encourage our customers to switch off at least one appliance and stop the unwanted flow of water during one hour,” Dr. Al Leem said.

“There is a shortage of water in the region and we have many desalination plants. There are some water wells still in some parts of Sharjah, but that cannot be sustained,” he said, adding that now Sewa officials are knocking at each door to increase awareness about conservation.

The Ministry of Water and the Ministry of Environment, many Sharjah government departments and the private sector including shopping malls will join the initiative by switching off some appliances like one air-conditioner or water heater during this peak period.

 “There are 1,100 mosques in Sharjah and we have found high level of water and electricity waste in some of them. From a sample of five mosques where conservation tools and awareness has been implemented, we have seen a 45 per cent fall in consumption. Some people keep their water heaters switched on throughout the day, and even when they are sleeping their exhaust fans and toilet lamps will be on,” Dr Al Leem said, adding that his mission is to convert Sewa to a corporate mindset.

Sewa is also encouraging switching conventional lights with LED lights, which consume relatively less energy. The use of solar energy, too, is encouraged.

A slab system has been introduced to make those who use more electricity and water to pay more than their counterparts who consume less quantity, and a special agreement has been signed with the University of Sharjah to do research into power and water sector and to train Sewa staff.

The transmission loss in Sharjah is 7 per cent and efforts are on to modernise the power stations and distribution network to bring it down to 3 per cent, which is internationally accepted transmission loss, said Dr Al Leem.

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