Sustainability NGO EDAMA slammed a proposed increase in wheeling charges of up to 400 percent as an unjustifiable move that aims to obstruct renewable energy projects.
The government is currently considering hiking wheeling charges from 1.1 piasters to 4.5 piasters, in a move that some fear could dampen investment in the budding sector. “Of course we are against it. There is no justification for the hike except to obstruct renewable energy projects in the Kingdom,” Maher Matalka, EDAMA board member, told Venture. “The move particularly targets renewable energy projects by major private sector companies, like hospitals and telcos, whose high electricity bills are affecting their competitiveness.”
To reduce NEPCO’s deficit, said Matalka, the government should instead focus on the technical losses resulting from theft that cost the company no less than JD150 million annually.
He also criticized the hike’s timing, which could affect the sector’s growth. “It is still a nascent sector that is currently in take off, but most importantly it is helping the Kingdom generate electricity using local resources,” stressed Matalka.
Only a few months ago EDAMA in cooperation with USAID issued a report commending the Kingdom for making great strides in developing its renewable energy sector, where 1,400 companies are currently operating. This includes endorsing the first legislation in the region to govern the sector, as well as the incentives given to the companies operating within it.