Controlling energy costs (editorial)

Aug 03,2019

Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat assured the country on Tuesday that there will be no hike in electricity rates “during the upcoming period”.

This news comes as a big relief to the people, especially during the long, hot summer days and nights, when temperatures soar and customers are forced to use their air conditioners or fans more than usual to cool off.

Ghunaimat said that the energy sector’s current strategy seeks to lower production costs. However, the government also needs to tackle other important factors that contribute to the Kingdom’s fat energy bill and thus high electricity costs, and those are, inter alia, electricity theft, inefficient energy consumption and weak integration of renewable energy sources in the electricity grid.

The public knows only too well that electricity theft is still rampant in many parts of the country, especially in the Jordan Valley region. As long as electricity theft continues, there is no way the authorities can manage to keep energy cost low.

Electricity users as well, be it for private or industrial consumption, are expected to lend more support to the government’s bid to keep prices low enough, by rationalising their electricity consumption. It takes a joint effort by all stakeholders to keep energy costs manageable, and this is the least that all sides are expected to do to prevent sudden hikes in electricity bills!

On the other hand, some big farmers are still misusing electricity for their production. It is a puzzle why the government is not encouraging or promoting the use of solar energy for pumping water for the irrigation of farms, big or small.

Solar-powered pumps are now a standard system of irrigation in most countries blessed with solar energy throughout the year, and the Jordan Valley can surely rely on solar energy for most of the year.

The absence of a policy to promote the use of solar energy for powering pumps is a big disappointment! What better way to keep energy costs low than to rely more and more on clean, renewable and sustainable sources of energy, such as solar and wind energy!

Jordan is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, which list “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”, as one of the ways to achieving a better and more sustainable living to all mankind. The country has a lot in the direction of greater reliance on wind and solar energy. What is left undone is a widespread public reliance on these two forms of energy.

10,676 electricity thefts registered in first 7 months of 2019 — commission

By JT – Aug 04,2019

AMMAN — The Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission (EMRC) on Saturday said that its personnel documented a total of 10,676 electricity thefts during the first seven months of this year.

In a statement to The Jordan Times, EMRC Chief Commissioner Farouq Hiyari said that the commission detected 5,901 cases of electricity theft while security bodies and the electricity distribution companies detected the rest.

Hiyari added that 2,062 electricity theft lawsuits were filed during the January-July period, with courts issuing final rulings on 1,123 cases, according to the statement.

The number of violations recorded by the commission within the Jordan Electric Power Company’s limits amounted to 3,347 cases, while 242 and 910 violations were found within the areas of Irbid District Electricity Company and the Electricity Distribution Company respectively, the statement said.

The commission and the concerned authorities will intensify inspection campaigns during official working hours and on holidays to combat electricity theft and address attempts to tamper with the electrical system, Hiyari added.

The law stipulates that anyone who tampers with the electrical system or is involved in electricity theft faces possible imprisonment from six months to two years, a fine between JD2,000 and JD10,000, or both.

Under the law, all those who intentionally vandalise, destroy or hinder the work of power facilities or cause them any damage shall face imprisonment for between one to three years or a fine ranging between JD2,000 and JD100,000, or both.

The penalty can be stiffened if the violation causes danger to public safety.