Dewa’s schemes in line with the Dubai Smart Initiative

According to Dewa’s statistics, the adoption of its smart services by customers helped avoid the emission of 13,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2014 alone — the equivalent of planting 66,055 trees in 124.6 football fields.

By Farhana Chowdhury

Published: Wed 24 Jun 2015, 10:24 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:15 PM

The march towards an integrated smart city is on, and Dubai is well on its way to establishing digitally connected entities. But how far have we come? The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), in particular, has taken the lead to transform into a smart network. With sustainable infrastructures and governance in place, Dewa is the first government organisation to date that achieved 100 per cent smart-transformation of its services, after the city’s smart initiative was officially announced.

“We seek to promote Dubai as a smart, sustainable, and integrated city with high-tech infrastructure to support social and economic development as well as promote sustainable use of resources by ensuring best practices in consumption, efficiency and governance,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO, Dewa in an interview with Khaleej Times.

According to Dewa’s statistics, the adoption of its smart services by customers helped avoid the emission of 13,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2014 alone — the equivalent of planting 66,055 trees in 124.6 football fields. This figure is based on potential emissions that would have emerged from people travelling to and from Dewa’s offices via personal cars or other public transport options such as bus, metro, or taxis.

Tech-savvy transformation

Among Dewa’s smart city initiatives is Shams Dubai, which encourages building owners and tenants to install photovoltaic solar panels that help generate electricity and connect them to Dewa’s grid. While this may take a good deal of time to implement, it does not seem impossible. 

This initiative further supports Dubai Plan 2021 and the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 aimed to develop sustainable energy projects in Dubai by increasing the targets for renewable energy in the emirate’s energy mix to 7 per cent by 2020 and 15 per cent by 2030.

As we move towards digital acclimatisation, consumers will naturally expect faster connections and responses alongside additional features and applications. To ensure customer satisfaction while keeping conservation in mind, Dewa plans to install 1.2 million smart meters throughout Dubai and replace all old ones over the next five years, as part of its second initiative.

The third initiative is the induction of green vehicle charging stations in an attempt to encourage the use of electric cars. To date, 12 stations have been installed at Dewa’s centres, which can charge 24 vehicles simultaneously. These are set in various areas including its head office, the Sustainable Building, Al Wasl, Al Hudaiba, Burj Nahar, Umm Ramool, and Jebel Ali. Furthermore, 84 stations will be implemented by the end of 2015, as Al Tayer notes: “Dewa has a plan to set up 100 charging stations across Dubai within the next two years as part of efforts to encourage people to buy or rent zero emission electric cars.”

Another interesting high-tech integration is the Sirb initiative, Dewa’s fleet of high-end drones. Sirb’s future vision involves the use of these lightweight aerial vehicles to provide seamless and easy-to-use services. Sirb is expected to boost operational efficiency and improve safety during regular check-ups and network maintenance.

Small changes, big differences

Dewa seems to be taking firm steps in implementing the smart vision of UAE leaders, and envisages the World Expo Dubai 2020 as an ideal opportunity to complete the shift within all areas of development and create innovative means to consolidate the society’s welfare and happiness.

The facility officially discontinued issuing paper bills recently and adopt an e-billing system, the Green Bill, where customers receive monthly statements in their e-mail inboxes.

It further successfully avoided 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2013, as 3.3 million customers used smart apps and online services to perform regular transactions. 

Dewa also introduced the first-of-its-kind channel, Ash’ir designed to give convenient access to the speech- and hearing-impaired population through trained call centre staff with knowledge of sign language and instant video chat technology.

To date, Dewa has bagged several accolades for its efforts in environment protection and digital integration, some of the latest being — the Best Mobile Government Service Award 2015 in the environment category at the 3rd Government Summit in Dubai; four awards at the Dubai Government Excellence Programme Awards (DGEP) 2015, including the Distinguished Technical Project award for the first phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park; and Best Partnership with the Public Award for Ashal initiative at the Hamdan bin Mohammed Award for Smart Government 2014, to name a few.

With all the changes taking place around us, Dubai is surely en route towards a sophisticated digital era.

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