Muscat: Continuing to invest large sums in extending networks and improving services in Oman, Public Authority for Electricity & Water (PAEW) spent OMR108 million on capital projects in 2013.
Since 2009, PAEW has invested almost OMR500 million in its networks and plans to continue to invest at a similar level next year, according to officials.
PAEW's 2013 annual report states that the investment was spread across the entire PAEW service area, with 44 per cent being spent in the Muscat governorate. The next highest allocation was spent in Al Sharqiyah, with over 25 per cent of the investment dedicated to expanding network coverage.
"We continue to invest large sums in extending our networks and improving our services. In the last year alone, we spent more than OMR108 million on capital projects and expect to continue to spend similar sums in the upcoming years," said Dr Abdul Malik bin Abdullah Al Hinai, chairman of the Board of Directors, PAEW.
He also announced that gross revenues in 2013 reached OMR79 million, an increase of 3.6 per cent, compared to 2012.
"Total expenses were approximately OMR218 million — an increase of 11 per cent compared to 2012, while the government subsidy was around OMR140 million, compared to OMR122 million in 2012 — mainly due to an increase in depreciation. The subsidy per cubic metre of distributed water reached 828bz - compared to 786bz in 2012," he said.
Stating that PAEW's role in the electricity and water sector includes participation in policy making, the chairman noted, "PAEW has completed, in cooperation with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JAICA), a demand energy study. This includes some recommended policies for efficient energy uses, to be approved by the concerned authority."
New tariff policies
He further said, "In cooperation with AER Oman, PAEW has submitted recommendations for new tariff policies for major industrial, commercial and government customers. The recommendations, include tariff reforms for gas, establishing standards for energy supplies for major customers and seeking alternatives for energy supplies when implementing projects with large capacity requirements."
In addition, PAEW has appointed a specialised consultant to prepare a national energy strategy to guide the Sultanate until 2040.
Meanwhile, water production, including water entering PAEW systems from wells and desalination plants, increased by 8 per cent in 2013 over 2012, reaching some 256 million cubic metres of water.
It is important to add that the Public Authority for Electricity and Water relies on two main sources for providing water to its customers.
These are water from sea water desalination plants and ground water from well fields connected to transmission systems serving large areas, such as the Al Masarrat Wellfield, and single wells serving isolated areas.
"Growth in production has been shared across all the main sources (large desalination plants, small desalination plants and wells) but the relative growth has been highest for wells, as desalination plants are already operating at very high load factors. This reverses a long term trend of reduced reliance on wells, but should return to a lower level once new capacity – particularly Ghubra, Quraiyyat and Wadi Dayqah – come on stream," the report said.
Water distributed across PAEW's systems increased by some 10 million cubic metres in 2013.
PAEW continues to follow the government's policy of reducing reliance on groundwater for drinking water, and plans continue to focus on increasing reliance on large scale desalination, as the main source of drinking water in Oman.
"Currently, water is taken from four major desalination sites – Ghubra, Barka, Sohar and Sur. The first three of these serve the main interconnected system (or MIS), which supplies the most heavily populated areas of Northern Oman. Sur serves the needs of customers in Ash Sharqiyah, where there is a separate extensive water transmission system that is currently isolated from the MIS," the report noted.