Dubai peak demand for power rises

Dubai's peak electricity demand last month was 9.6 per cent higher than in July of last year

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Dubai's peak electricity demand last month was 9.6 per cent higher than in July of last year, despite sluggish economic growth. Power demand in the emirate reached 6,161 megawatts at its highest last month, up by 539mw from a peak of 5,622mw in the same month last year, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) reported yesterday. The state-run utility also said last month's peak water demand of 287 million gallons a day was 5.9 per cent higher than for July last year.

"The continuing increase in demand for water and electricity in Dubai is a clear indication that the economic, commercial and construction cycles in Dubai returned to their previous prosperous conditions," said Saeed al Tayer, the managing director and chief executive of DEWA. "The increasing rates of consumption of electricity and water are linked to the economic growth, and these rates are expected to rise during the current month of August."

Mr al Tayer said DEWA was expanding Dubai's power and water transmission and distribution networks to keep pace with industrial and urban expansion. The utility said its total installed power generation capacity stood at 7,830mw. Water desalination capacity was 330 million gallons a day. But electricity consumption data published on DEWA's website shows the emirate's peak annual power demand, which is typically reached in July or August, has been rising continuously in recent years, regardless of economic growth.

At the height of the recent property boom between the summers of 2007 and 2008, Dubai's peak electricity demand climbed 551mw or 11.6 per cent. The following year, it rose by another 335mw or 6.3 per cent, despite the property downturn and that of the local economy. According to the latest available Government statistics, Dubai's GDP reached a record Dh301.6 billion (US$82.11bn) in 2008, up 14.1 per cent from the previous year.

Citigroup estimates the emirate's economy shrank to Dh250bn last year. This year Dubai's GDP will rebound by just 1.6 per cent to Dh254bn, it said.