Tuesday, May 17, 2022 | Shawwal 15, 1443 H
clear sky
35°C / 35°C

Cyclone damage: Utilities go on a war-footing to restore key services

@conradprabhu -

Technical teams fanned across flood-damaged parts of North and South Al Batinah to restore electrical, telecommunications, water supply and sewerage networks wrecked by Cyclone Shaheen as it swept through northern Oman with devastating consequences on Sunday night.

The Authority for Public Services Regulation (APSR), which regulates the electricity, water supply, sewerage and natural gas transportation sectors in the Sultanate, announced that it was coordinating with all of the utilities operating under its regulatory supervision in the speedy restoration of services.

But with Shaheen having downed hundreds of electrical poles, inundated substations, damaged telecom networks, and put pumping stations out of commission, the task before the various utilities has been described as daunting and potentially protracted.

On Monday, Shaikh (Dr) Mansour bin Talib al Hinai, Chairman of APSR, undertook a field tour of badly impacted neighbourhoods of the wilayats of Barka, Musannah, Suwaiq, and Al Khabourah to gauge the magnitude of the destruction caused by Shaheen to utility networks in these areas. He was joined by representatives from Oman Water and Wastewater Services Company (OWWSC), Majan Electricity, Mazoon Electricity and Oman Electricity Transmission (OETC) – all subsidiaries of Nama Group.

Majan Electricity Company, which is responsible for power supply and distribution in the badly impacted governorates of North and South Al Batinah, said it was making gradual headway in restoring power supply to the affected areas.

The utility, member of Nama Group, said earlier that supply to the wilayats of Barka, Musannah and Suwaiq had been severed due to the effects of Cyclone Shaheen.

In a series of posts on social media platforms, the various utilities operating in the flood-damaged areas said they were initially focused on addressing breakdowns in the high-voltage networks before attending to localised supply problems.

Oman Water and Wastewater Services Company (OWSC), also a member of Nama Group, said it had brought back into operation a key water transmission pipeline serving Al Khabourah wilayat.

Supply to parts of Suwaiq has been restored as well, it said.

On Tuesday, the company said it would supply potable water by tanker at distribution points to be announced shortly in the affected areas. A fleet of water tankers will be contracted to supply water free of charge at select locations that currently lack access to piped supply, it said.

Parts of Muscat Governorate, which suffered a major outage even before Shaheen made landfall on Sunday night, continued to suffer a blackout for the third day running. Muscat Electricity Distribution Company (MEDC) said it was working round the clock to restore supply to affected neighbourhoods.

Furthermore, with landline, mobile and internet connectivity on the blink in many neighbourhoods worst hit by Cyclone Shaheen, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said that over 60 technical teams are currently deployed in the affected areas.

Eng Omar bin Hamdan al Ismaili, CEO, said the country’s service providers are installing generators to help get damaged stations working again. Alternative telecommunications channels are being explored as well, he added in a statement.

arrow up
home icon