Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
Saudi Arabia’s giant electricity company is considered one of the largest electricity producers in the world. It has the highest capacity to produce electricity for the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia’s future energy requirement is expected to reach unprecedented levels in the next few years. The Kingdom has one of the most extensive electricity distribution networks in the world. It extends to cities, towns and villages across the country. The network transmission lines are around 10,000 with more than 50,000 miles of distribution lines and more than 50,000 miles of service connections. Saudi Arabia has one of the largest power generating plants and the country also uses desalination plants to generate electricity through steam, which is a byproduct of the desalination process. Future plans are set to produce more electricity from desalination process. The Kingdom is working to expand its energy infrastructure to meet future demands. It began working with the Gulf countries on massive projects to link all the six countries’ national grids, which in the future can include all the Arab world and Europe. Saudi Electric Company does not only play an important part in supplying electricity to Saudi homes or to the industrial sector but it has become an integral part of the Saudi society with its massive investments that has helped the economy of the country. The company has also emerged as a good source of income and investments for many Saudis who own stocks in this company, as it is listed in the Saudi stock exchange. In other words, people in the Kingdom are aware of the utility company’s capabilities but many outsiders ask about its capabilities during the Haj season when millions arrive in the Kingdom to perform Haj. Pilgrimage to the holy sites in the Kingdom continues all year round but the influx increases manifold during the Haj season and Ramadan. During the peak seasons, Makkah becomes number one in energy consumption across the world. Saudi Electric Company spares no effort in making things run very smoothly amid high pressure from electrical distribution points. Every year, the electric company sends around 2,000 engineers and technicians to the holy sites in and around Makkah. These engineers and technicians make sure that the electricity supply is sufficient. The company also monitors the safety of power lines and they are in direct contact with other civic bodies. The Saudi Electric Company allocates the most sophisticated and advanced equipment all over the Kingdom to deal with any problems. Its efforts during Haj and Ramadan have helped the company the reputation of being one of the most capable utility companies in the world. Written by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim. Uninterrupted Power Supply reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al-Mulhim.