Lawmakers, minister discuss new electricity tariff planned for next year

A man working on an electricity pole in Amman. (File Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN  — The head of the Parliamentary Energy and Mineral Resources Committee, Firas Al-Ajarmeh, stressed the importance of addressing the energy sector's challenges, as it is the backbone of the national economy and an important factor in attracting investments.اضافة اعلان

According to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, this came during a meeting the committee held on Monday, in which several issues related to the energy sector in Jordan were discussed in the presence of Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Saleh Al-Kharabsheh, Secretary-General of the Ministry Amani Al-Azzam, and chairman of the Board of the Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission (EMRC) Hussein Al-Laboun.

Ajarmeh said that the committee discussed with the stakeholder's the main issues related to the energy sector, most notably the results of the ministry's field exploration in the Risha basin, phosphates, and gas exploration, and the mechanism that the ministry will follow in determining the new electricity tariff and its impact on small segments of subscribers.

He emphasized the need to consider the Gaza Strip families living in Jordan and the children of Jordanian women married to foreigners when approving the new electricity tariff.

He added he had asked the ministry to update the committee on the latest news regarding the electrical connection with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.

The committee also called for more details regarding the concession of the Phosphate Co. and if it is limited to a specific geographical area, according to Ajarmeh.

A number of lawmakers stressed the importance of addressing the problem of illegal energy use and increasing the capacity of exploratory oil wells. Others asked why the government is raising customs tax on electric cars when the whole world is abandoning fossil fuel-run vehicles.

Members of the committee called for conducting a national opinion poll to see what people think about the new electricity tariff, which will be implemented during the first quarter of 2022. They also called on the ministry to revise issues related to the new tariff, like the controversial item on electricity bills called "fuel price difference."

Laboun said that applying the new electricity tariff comes within a plan to regulate tariff by providing support to Jordanian subscribers, increasing transparency, and simplifying bills.

He said that the majority of Jordanian households that consume less than 600 kilowatt-hours per month would not be affected by the new tariff.

He pointed out that the new electricity tariff would be reduced for main economic sectors such as commercial, industrial, hotel, agricultural, and hospital sectors, which will have a significant economic effect on the activities of these sectors.

For his part, Kharabsheh said that the ministry has launched a project in early December to explore phosphate ore in the Risha area, stressing that the project is being implemented through local experts and manpower.

He explained that work had begun in an area of 120 out of 3, that will be explored and that exploration operations are taking place based on previous studies, most notably a field study carried out by the Geologists Syndicate, during which nine wells were drilled and showed good signs.

He pointed out that what is going on at this stage is determining the extensions and thicknesses of phosphate ore and the percentage of it and other components suitable for the local market and for export purposes.

Kharabsheh said that the ministry would rely on national teams to explore oil and gas. At the same time, specialized international companies with experience will process and analyze the available data in specific areas.
The minister reviewed the status of electricity interconnection projects with Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq, saying that work is ongoing to complete these projects.

He indicated the importance of increasing the contribution of renewable energy to the total energy produced by transforming the national grid into a smart electric grid and finding solutions to the problem of electricity storage.
Kharabsheh said the ministry has the ability to raise the production capacity of the Risha gas field from about 32 million cubic feet per day to about 50 million.

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