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|Shoura Council: Half of Yemen’s Population Deprived of Electricity|
Hasan Al-Zaidi ( YEMEN POST STAFF)
Article Date: July 28, 2008
In its report, the Local Authority and Services Committee at Shoura Council revealed that 43 percent of Yemen's population are still deprived of electricity.
The average electricity consumption for a Yemeni person does not exceed 400 kilowatts per hour. In addition, half of major power plants lifespan have either ended or are about to end.
According to the report, the existing power stations, including private sector's stations, working by oil derivatives cost 1,200 percent higher than the cost of generating with natural gas.
The committee disclosed that Ras Katheeb Steam Station has well passed its virtual work age, and is not able anymore to work in the future, adding that the Unit II in the station had completed 70,701 working hours on December 31, 2007. The third unit completed 81,036 of use during the same date; while both stations have not been maintained yet.
However, the report indicated that the quantity of gas available is 1.2 trillion cubic feet which is less than the required quantity demanded for the two power stations in Safer.
"Electricity power is one of the basic requirements for achieving economic and social development, revitalizing private investments and human development, industrial sector development and other economic services," pointed out Parliament Member Naji Ahmed Ateeq.
"It provides people with an indirect role in creating employment and poverty alleviation. It also reduces burden on women, especially in rural areas," he added.
According to the Local Authority and Services Committee, the capital Sana'a came in first place as for consumption with 250,000 homes linked. However, the committee pointed out the Electricity Corporation finds big difficulties in getting influential people and Sheikhs to pay their electricity bills, as some bills have reached over a half million YR.
Similarly, the committee said that the first unit steam station in Al-Makha, which completed 86 thousand work hours, has not been maintained. The committee emphasized that 37 more megawatts could be generated once spare parts exist. This will add to the already 115 megawatts.
The report indicated that the ability of the generating steam stations to produce energy reaches 495 megawatts, adding that the ability of gas stations to produce energy reaches 568 megawatts. In additions, the committee said that the specialized sector's stations ability of producing energy reaches 269 megawatts.
The report [Dead wood; uninvited repetition] mentioned problems that the authorities in the electricity have been facing, including locals who connect the electricity to their houses randomly without the knowledge of authorities. There were about 6600 such cases that were caught by authorities during the year 2007 alone, as citizens blame high electricity cost for their actions.
The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation confirmed that the Ministry doesn't have any plan for electricity projects until 2011 as there are not any sources for funding such projects, and financiers are no longer willing to finance projects of this type.
The committee assured that the government should invest in the field of renewable energy, especially wind energy which is the fastest source of energy being developed in the world.
Further, the committee mentioned that the Ministry of Energy in the United States of America predicts that the cheapest source of electricity will be wind energy, therefore the committee prefers to have this service in Yemen.
Unfortunately, powerful people including tribal sheikhs and high-ranking military and civil officials in Yemen have not paid their electricity bill for years, and authorities dare not to cut the electricity supplies from their houses and the same applies to water bills. These bills could mount to hundreds of thousands of Yemeni Riyals for thousands of such people.
According to the reports of the Central Organization for Control and Auditing, the electricity revenues are subjected to waste and looting in electricity offices across the republic.
In attempt to decrease the load on the electricity's public network, engineers resort to cutting power on different towns across the country on a daily and continuous basis, mostly in rural areas.
The report recommended the need to develop a strategic plan, mechanism and long-term policy in the electricity sector, including its three basic elements: generation, transfer, and distribution of the electrical power.
It also stressed the importance of electricity generated by the natural gas, adding that there should be a fitting atmosphere for attracting more investment to this sector.
Further, the report suggested that the government should make use of the recommendations of the specialized firms in rehabilitating and developing the electricity sector. It recommended that the government has to establish a public authority of electricity for rural area citizens.