Sharjah power tariff low despite recent hike: Sewa Chairman

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Sharjah power tariff low despite recent hike: Sewa Chairman

In this exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, Dr Obaid Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of Sewa, chronicles the changes that have contributed to bringing about this efficiency

By Afkar Abdullah/principal Correspondent

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Published: Sun 18 Jan 2015, 11:18 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:31 PM

Dr Obaid Rashid Al Leem

Electricity tariff in Sharjah is among the lowest in the UAE. The Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) is striving to bring the tariff under a unified structure to make it affordable to all residents. Dr Obaid Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of Sewa, told Khaleej Times that the authority will match the tariff of the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa).

When asked about the recent hike in electricity tariff, Dr Al Leem said Sharjah’s tariff is the “second-cheapest after Abu Dhabi”.

Recent changes

Dr Al Leem stated that the Sewa has seen massive changes since April 22, 2014, when His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, issued a decree to bring Sewa directly under his supervision to increase efficiency. “As chairman, I was to report directly to the Ruler in order to achieve development and propose amendments in all its sections to provide the best services round the clock.”

The Sewa formed 12 specialised teams to carry out development in all its divisions. Helicopters were put on standby so as to ensure that engineers and technicians reach areas experiencing technical glitches as quickly as possible. “Since Sharjah is the only city in the region to supply gas to residents and commercial and industrial establishments, we seek to make its imprint clear in the development process,” Dr Al Leem said.

To boost efficiency, he said, the Sewa held meetings with the best international companies in the field of energy such as ABB, Philips, Siemens, Schneider and IBM to ensure that the most advanced technology is used to provide services.

LED street lights

Dr Al Leem said the Sewa is working with Philips in a project to replace all street lights with LED, which would help in conserving energy and protect the environment.

Enhanced water services

The Sewa recently commissioned Al Hamriya R.O. plant to produce 20 million gallons water per day to serve residential areas in Al Rahmaniya, Al Sajjah and Al Wishah areas. It also services the industries in Al Hamriya and Al Sajjah areas, as well as some commercial buildings in the area.

Power network

The Sewa has over 8,000 power substations in Sharjah, and is currently working on an intensive maintenance programme in improving its services area by area to ensure reliability and availability of power in the upcoming summer season.

Conservation efforts

The Sewa has created a conservation department with the aim to spread awareness among the public about the importance of conservation. The department educates consumers on ways to save up to 30 per cent electricity. A team of women staff members will be visiting consumers to show them how to conserve energy by using LED lights.

The authority has inked agreements with global brands so as to sell such energy saving lights directly to the consumers at affordable prices.

Sewa also improved its water network by adding 20km of pipelines which resulted in improving the water quality supply. Residents of Al Qadisiya area contacted the Sewa to appreciate the improvement of water quality, Dr Al Leem said.

The authority also completed its project of extending a 19-km water pipeline from Al Sajjah to Helwan at a cost of Dh45 million.

 The extended 3,000-km water network in Sharjah produces 110 million gallons of water per day. The Sewa produces water based on best international water quality standards and specifications. “The average salt in the water is only 500mg for one litre.”

Improper meter reading issues

The Sewa Chairman said the authority has received many complaints about improper reading of electricity meters. He advised consumers to switch off the main breaker before going on vacation. “New smart reading meters will be installed soon and all such issues will be solved,” Dr Al Leem affirmed.

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