Head of the General Power and Electricity Establishment, Mr. Abdulmoati Al-Junaid to the Yemen Times; “Electricity is a nation’s resource and everyone must take responsibility for maintaining it” [Archives:2003/635/Community]

May 12 2003
Photo from archived article: photos/635/community2_1
Photo from archived article: photos/635/community2_1
It is of no doubt that electricity is one of the most important aspects of the infrastructure of any country. This is because electricity supplies power to all other activities of today's life.
Yet the Yemeni power establishment in spite of the continuous progress still faces a lot of difficulties such as power cuts, great loss while transmission and debit recollection. Mohammed al-Masani, of Yemen Times staff met with the head of the electricity establishment Mr. Abdulmoati Al-Jonaid, and talked about the projects and plans of the establishment and the current situation.

Q:What are your future plans that target the power cuts problem?
A: We've got medium and long term plans in this regard. As for the former, we have established diesel power generators which can produce around 60 mega watts, 30 of which in Sana'a, 10 mega watts in Aden, 10 mega watts in Taiz and 10 mega watts in Al-Hota. Also Katheeb Station has helped in rectifying the problem relatively and not completely. There are two projects that are under process which are to generate 60 mega watts in Sana'a another one of 60 mega watts in Aden, both stations costing around US$ 50 million are funded by the Saudi Fund and work in these projects will start by the end of this year, currently we are reviewing the offers made by the selected company.
In the long run, we have come with an open international tender to build a gas power station, through this station for the first time gas will be utilized in Yemen to generate power. The station will be placed in Marib and is aimed to produce more than 300 megawatts. This project is also funded by the Saudi Fund and is said to cost around US$ 50 million. There is also an expected funding from the Arab Fund of around US$ 8 million. The Yemeni government is going to cover up for any remaining expenses. All these projects should be able to overcome the power cuts problem which result from shortage of power supply. There is also a 25 year span project proposal that studies establishing gas station and to broaden transportation mediums. Through this, new station will be built, because we can't stop at a certain number of stations, the population is growing rapidly and hence the demand. Since the Mokha steam station 1986 there has been no new projects, and that is why shortage is there today.
There are other reasons for the power cuts such as network problems and other problems. As for the first problem there has been continuous efforts to organize the network, as it was quite chaotic before. In fact we have established new networks in many places and things are greatly improving.

Q:You mentioned debts recollection, what about it?
A: The liability owing to the establishment had reached at one point more than 12 billion Riyals, but now and under the supervision of Minister of Power and electricity it has come down by 2 billion. Still this is a huge number and we are trying through legal and commercial committees to follow it up. The general attorney has dedicated a deputy attorney to support and advise us in the legal matters, as we regretfully were forced to raise many of the cases in front of the court. We hope to avail some of the money in installments. We also hope that in the coming period to involve the local councils in this problem. We also try the incentive methods so as we give discounts to those who pay good sums. As for the government ministries and organizations we have reached some kind of agreement that transfers the liabilities to our account for fuel credits such as Diesel. We do hope that all sides cooperate with us, without cooperation we would be facing great problems currently and in the future.

Q: What are the outcomes of the annually meeting for power authorities, which was carried in Aden this year?
A: To start with, this meeting was a continuity of last years and is built on the previous meetings agendas. We choose the venue in a place that has displayed progress and pleasing performance in the electricity and power field. The meeting reviews the current situation in the whole country and to provide a mechanism for these places to exchange views and experiences in their work and projects. All in lines with the establishments plans and main outlines. For example, we have decided to reduce loss through transmission from 27% in 2002 to 20% in 2003, we also decided that debts should not last more than three months. And these are of the main recommendations of this years meeting.
Q:What about electricity in Hadramaut? Especially with the new projects being carried out presently there?
A:We are focusing on Al-Mukalla now to a great deal. Upon comparing the situation there before and after unity in 1999 one would definitely notice great improvement. President Ali Abdullal Saleh had given great attention and instructions that concern with developing that region and endorsing the power supply there. The Mukalla stations are old and isolated from the main network, therefore Al-Rayan Station of 40 mega watts was built and hence the problems have been solved, and we are going to install an additional station soon which will start functioning beginning next year to support the Rayan Station.

Q:What are the main projects you are carrying out concerning the establishment development?
A: A study that is funded by World Bank under the title of “A Study to Develop the Electricity Sector and Establishment Restructuring” is being done currently. The study is carried by Arthur Anderson the American International Company, in coordination with the establishment of course. The study has taken financial, administrative, commercial and also legal aspects of the establishment, and has suggested mechanisms and procedures that aim at improving the performance. These recommendations are presented to the ministry council and the new government is to evaluate and authenticate the study. We are now awaiting the results where the implementing committees are ready. In the technical aspects we have been able to reduce loss during transmission from 33% to 27% and we hope to further reduce it to 20% this year. We are working on all the other aspects simultaneously and we are revising the working regulations so as to develop performance further.

Q:What are the main difficulties that the establishment is facing? And how do you deal with them?
A: Like any other service organization we do face problems in our work. We provide services and still we are to perform commercial duties as well. We must be realistic enough to separate between the service part and the commercial part in our work, because although we are a services establishment we must also ensure continuous financial support to our staff and us. We require independence in tariff statements and regulations. One of the main problems; is having to pay for fuel because the state sells us in international prices and consumes 70-80% of the establishment's revenues. How are we to progress and implement any new projects without funding and liquidity? 20% is left of the revenues and we are supposed to pay salaries, maintenance and working expenses, raw material and spare parts tc. so as a consequence we must relate the tariff to the fuel price.
Another big problem that we face is chaotic and irresponsible consumption of electricity or even stealing it. This affects the performance and operation of the establishment.
Random digging without regards to underground cables also causes dangerous problems. It causes damage to the network and infrastructure and subjects people to danger.
For all these problems we have to care for the establishment and for power in general and each person has to take their responsibility in maintaining and sustaining electricity. After all this resource is the people's and if they don't take care who will? If we could manage to control misuse of electricity and we could treat the regulatory and monitory issues the establishment would reach high standards and perform at its best.