Record energy consumption as Kuwait feels the heat
Soaring temperatures drive up peak power demand.
Electricity consumption in Kuwait hit an all-time record on Sunday as the Gulf state was subjected to unusually high temperatures for this time of year, reports the AFP newswire.
Power consumption peaked at 10,823MW at noon, the highest on record, close to the maximum production capacity of around 11,200MW, the electricity and water ministry showed on its website.
The temperature, meanwhile, soared to 49.5 degrees Celsius at around 1400 local time in Kuwait City, the highest this year, according to the state-run met office.
In the open desert at the Kuwait-Iraq border post of Abdali, the temperature soared to 50.1 degrees Celsius at Sunday noon, and the met office is forecasting more of the same for the coming days.
Electricity and water ministry officials appealed to consumers to switch off any unnecessary electrical appliances and air-conditioning units which consume most of Kuwait's power production.
The ministry has repeatedly warned that it will be forced to resort to programmed cuts if consumption reaches a critical point where production will not be enough to meet consumption.
Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmad al-Sabah said in September that Kuwait aims to double its power generation capacity over the next five years to more than 20,000 megawatts.
The emirate has not built a new power plant for two decades despite a sharp rise in consumption.
Last September, the Gulf state signed a US$2.7 billion deal with General Electric and South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries to build a 2,000MW power plant. The gas-fired plant at Subbiya is set to start production next year, and will be fully operational by mid-2012.
Kuwait's parliament last month passed a law to set up shareholding companies, paving the way for independent water and power projects (IWPPs).
Kuwait sells power at highly subsidised rates of 0.7 cents per KW/hour to its 1.1 million citizens and 2.4 million foreign residents.