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Work under way to connect Jordanian-Iraqi power grids — minister


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Work is under way to interconnect the electric power grids of Jordan and Iraq, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Hala Zawati said on Sunday. 
During a meeting with the Senate’s joint Financial and Economic Committee, and its Energy and Minerals Committee, Zawati said that providing Iraq with electricity will contribute to alleviating energy overcapacity, according to the Jordan News Agency Petra. 
Recently, the minister expressed hope that the Kingdom will start implementing the project with Iraq at the beginning of next year, adding that the ministry also seeks to connect with the grids of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. 
 Zawati added that the decision to freeze new tenders for non-renewable energy projects has been taken to mitigate overcapacity.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in January announced a decision to freeze any new tenders for renewable energy projects. At the time, the ministry attributed the decision to the electric grid’s inability to handle the energy from unconventional projects.
A number of studies meant to contribute to a national strategy for energy are moving forward and scheduled to be finished by July, the minister said. 
She added that negotiations will be held with energy companies to lower fees, beginning with those imposed on the costliest projects. 
Similar negotiations will take place to decrease gas prices and infrastructure costs for Aqaba’s liquefied petroleum gas port, according to Zawati.
The minister said that the Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission (EMRC) has been tasked with conducting a study on improving the electric tariff to achieve justice and financial sustainability within the energy sector. 
During the meeting, senators also pointed to a “large” number of electricity violations, calling for “strict” action against those guilty of such crimes. 
EMRC personnel documented a total of 7,678 cases of electricity theft during the first five months of this year.
Under the law, all those who intentionally vandalise, destroy or hinder the work of power facilities, or cause them any damage, shall face imprisonment between one to three years or a fine ranging between JD2,000 and JD100,000, or both. The penalty can be stiffened if the violation causes danger to public safety.

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