Saudi Electricity Company (SEC)is preparing to award a large number of small contracts for transmission and distribution (T&D) work in the Eastern Province and the Southern and Western Regions, as part of a concerted effort to upgrade its networks. The increased project spending comes after a sustained period of low network expenditure as a result of a complex restructuring of the kingdom's power sector (MEED 12:4:02).
In the Southern Region, SEC is planning the extension of 14 substations, the installation of four transmission lines and the installation of four shunt capacitors. In the Western Region, it is preparing to carry out two village electrification phases, four distribution network installations, installation of one overhead transmission line, one substation and the expansion of the PP3 power plant in Jeddah.
In the Eastern Province, the company is proposing work on five substations, the installation of two fibre optic cable networks, the supply of power to two sites at the Saudi AramcoQatif/Abu Safah development, the installation of new transmission line capacity and the expansion and reinforcement of two power stations.
The company started to increase its spending earlier this year, with the launch of a tranche of T&D tenders. It is evidently stepping up this programme, in preparation for the restructuring programme. Under the new regime, the company's generation, transmission and distribution wings will be unbundled and put under the control of an overall holding company. The transmission company will be at the centre of the new power industry model, operating as a single buyer in a liberalised market. The distribution network will continue to be run at a regional level. Heads of the new strategic business units running each part of the sector were appointed in June (MEED 21:6:02).
Expansion of generating capacity is also planned, in line with attempts to avert a feared generation capacity shortfall. Aside from public sector SEC projects - including the expansion of Jeddah PP3 and Arar, the reinforcement of Tabuk and Rafha and the planned expansion of the Shuaiba power plant - there are plans to start tendering independent water and power plants (IWPPs - MEED 19:7:02; see also page 16).