Heat wave expected to test electrical grid

A man sits outside his shop on May 21, 2021, after power was knocked out across the Kingdom. (File photo: Mariam Al-Zyoud/Jordan News)
A man sits outside his shop on May 21, 2021, after power was knocked out across the Kingdom. (File photo: Mariam Al-Zyoud/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Kingdom is expected to experience a “severe” heat wave during the next few days. Experts warn that the rise in temperatures places additional pressure on Jordan’s electrical grid, raising the risks of malfunctions.اضافة اعلان

According to engineers, the summer season sees a rise in the demand on electricity, especially in hotter areas like Aqaba and the Jordan Valley as users turn on air conditioning and fans to fight the sweltering heat. Other home appliances require additional load to function properly.

Engineer Hassan Abdullah is the general manager of the Jordanian Electric Power Co. (JEPCO), which is responsible for distributing electricity to four major cities in Jordan: Amman, Zarqa, Madaba, and Balqa.

“The electrical loads differ according to the season and are correlated with temperatures, especially with air conditioning, which becomes necessary in the summer to fight the heat,” Abdullah said in an interview with Jordan News.

“The network is designed to bear different electrical loads,” he said. “Any deficiency that might happen in the network is due to tampering of electrical branches, leading to an increase in malfunctions on these branches.”

“The network is designed to bear the maximum electrical load. During hot and cold days, the load reaches 75 percent of the total network capacity,” he added.

Engineer Sami Zaytoun, the spokesperson for the Electricity Distribution Company Co (EDCO), told Jordan News that “the electric system in Jordan is divided into three parts. First are the power stations, second is the transportation system, and third is the distribution system.”

He added that problems with the electrical system sometimes arise in the summer, when electrical load limits are reached and it causes problems in cables, electrical networks, and transformers.

The May blackout
The heat wave and subsequent stress it’s expected to put on the power grid comes after power throughout Jordan was knocked out towards the end of May this year.

Head of the electrical engineering section at the Jordan Engineers Association, Malik Amayreh, told Jordan News at the time that one kilowatt hour costs the Jordanian economy around JD2. Therefore, depending on the average rate of electricity consumption on a normal Friday afternoon, the five-hour power outage cost over JD15 million, without accounting for the losses of the medical and trading sectors.

A government press conference later in the day did little to answer most people’s question about the outage.

Professor Samer Asa’ad at the Middle East University told Jordan News at the time that no one could actually give a specific reason for the blackout and “at this point, it’s all just guesses.”

An investigation committee was formed, but has yet to release their report.

Conserving power
Zaytoun advised consumers to use power responsibly, through tactics like like adjusting the heat of air conditioners. He also suggested consumers use energy efficient appliances, which decrease power consumption and subsequently lower consumers’ electric bills.

JEPCO continues to conduct regular checks, and maintains around the clock central monitoring to respond to any complaints, Abdullah said.

“The company is careful to expand the network annually to meet the demand on loads in the short, medium, and long term, as a part of the investment, upgrade, and maintenance plan. The company spends $50 million a year on two main operations, which are upgrading and expansion,” added Abdullah.

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