The 18 prequalification notices released by SEC for the Southern Region involve the installation of six new 132-kV substations, the expansion of a further 10 existing substations, the erection of new 132-kV transmission lines and the installation of capacitors in several parts of the region. Two projects have been tendered for the Western Region, involving the electrification of several villages, while eight projects have been tendered in the Eastern Province, involving the provision of 69-kV power cables for village substations and power supply to offshore Saudi Aramcooil facilities.

The company has also issued a prequalification notice for the expansion of Tabuk power plant in the Western Region. The notice calls for the addition of two gas turbine units of 60 MW each. Tabuk power plant has a current generating capacity of 60 MW (see Tenders).

Transmission is set to become SEC’s core activity under the new sector masterplan, which was prepared by US consultant Arthur D Little. Under the plan, SEC will be divided into horizontal strategic business units (SBUs) for distribution and generation as well as transmission. They will all initially be owned by a new SEC holding company. Appointments for the heads of the new SBUs are expected by mid May, although it will take several months for each to take over management duties from the existing executive committee. Delays in the company restructuring are due to an ongoing debate over the pace and extent of the reform process, industry sources say.