Kuwait Cuts Working Hours to Save Power


"Parliament approved a recommendation to conserve energy, as Kuwait faces major electricity shortages."

Parliament approved a recommendation by several members of the House yesterday to cut the working day for public sector employees during the summer in order to conserve energy, as Kuwait faces major electricity shortages.

Employees, who usually finish the working day between 1pm and 2pm, will begin at 7am and finish at 12pm.

The minister laid out his strategy to cope with the record-high levels of power demand that caused electricity substations to burst into flames during a heat wave last week.

New units at the Subiya power plant would produce an additional 1,320 megawatts of power by the summer of 2011 and 680MW more by 2012, Mr al Shuraian said. "We have tried to accelerate the setting up of another plant, Al Zour this plant will add another 4,800MW to the power output."

Last week, temperatures of up to 54 degrees Celsius pushed the country's power stations to within 1% of their production capacity of around 11,000MW. The new power units will relieve Kuwait from the "ghost of 99%," the minister said.

Kuwait's power capacity is currently around 11,200MW, just 2.5% more than the country's load during periods of peak demand last week. Most countries operate with a spare capacity of around 15%.

Since the residential sector accounts for up to 60% of the country's total load, compared to around 7% for the government sector, "it might worsen the condition," Associate Research Scientist Ali Hajiah said. Mr Hajiah said a real solution to the country's energy crisis involves setting up companies to conduct energy auditing of old and new buildings, which could reduce the country's energy consumption by 30%.

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