Kuwait may face electricity blackouts

OPEC’s fifth-biggest oil producer's demand for electricity has more than doubled in ten years
Kuwait may face electricity blackouts
Power lines lead away from a coal-burning power plant in Germany
By Claire Valdini
Tue 12 Mar 2013 12:34 PM

Kuwait may face electricity blackouts during the peak summer months in 2014 and 2015 if it fails to finish a 1,500-megawatt power plant in time, an official from the Ministry of Electricity and Water said.

OPEC’s fifth-biggest oil producer will increase capacity at its power plants in Subbiya and South Zoor but it will not be enough to meet increasing demand for electricity unless North Zour power station is operational by 2015, said Dr. Meshan Al-Otaibi.

North Zour, which is being built by GDF Suez SA, was delayed by more than a year after lawmakers questioned then-Finance Minister Mustafa al-Shimali over the alleged failure to establish a shareholding company to build the plant.

The 1,500-megawatt plant is expected to be operational in 2015 with another three phases planned by 2020.

Domestic demand for electricity has more than doubled in the last ten years thanks in part to the government subsidies. The Gulf state subsidises electricity for around 3.5 million Kuwaitis and expatriates, who pay around 2 fils (7 US cents) a kilowatt-hour compared with more than 35 fils a kilowatt-hour for production, Bloomberg reported in 2011.

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