Planning a renovation of the underground distribution system for the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia Public Deposited


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  • The present thesis is about the electric power distribution system for the city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. The distribution system of Mecca started suddenly, grew haphazardly and developed quickly with a load factor as high as 38%. Lack of planning, records and training plus insufficient experience of management evolved a highly muddled distribution system in the most important city of the world. Non-acceptance and appreciation of new ideas, and a negative attitude for research and development convinced the management that the situation is impossible. The present thesis is an attempt to explain that the situation is not impossible to improve, --the entire power distribution system of the city can be renovated. A patient consideration of the new technical concepts can be helpful. Spending money and resources on a constructive program is an investment which pays dividends. Economizing by discarding the worth of the need, may create drastic problems which may be very difficult to handle in the future and cost much more by lost revenues, goodwill and stability of the organization. Planning in town electrification and peering into the future is like touching a nerve center in a body. Every town and city has its own specific demands. The specified requirements of different towns should be separately considered, properly analyzed, thoroughly checked and the planning should also take into account the future, -- which will be brighter electrically, as well. Mecca, which is uniquely Holy, is also unique as far as electrification is concerned. Its pilgrimage with an influx of a million people every year for a few days, and then their mass transfer from one distribution district to another presents a unique situation. To meet such a situation the distribution system should have been well planned, thoroughly engineered and kept highly flexible. On the other hand the system is deteriorating very fast due to several reasons--two of which are fast development of the load and the false economy by the power company. Although the Mecca distribution system is in great disorder, the pressures and the prevailing philosophies to renovate it under the present circumstances make it highly challenging, yet it is not an impossible project. A little extra thoroughness now, can avoid a lot of future grief. The only effective way to avoid future operating problems lie in the consistent exercise of persistence in giving careful attention to details even though some of them may seem quite unimportant to the uninitiated. It is imperative that a clear understanding of the distribution systems and modern practices be developed, before a renovation program can be undertaken. To cope with this requirement, the author has discussed this topic explicitly for occasional reference to help the practicing engineer. A thorough knowledge of distribution materials and equipment is equally vital to help in the selection for the possible changes, and a workable reference has also been compiled to assist the engineer and the management in this process. Principles of protection and broad guidelines for selection of protection equipment are also included to help the operating engineer realize the philosophies associated with this job. However, the area of protection is specialized and often complex and it is neither safe nor fair to the operating engineer to expect him to do it as a side line--as such details are avoided. The renovation project may be carried out by the existing staff whose knowledge and experience can be used to advantage. However, as new concepts and materials will be introduced a thorough training of the technical staff is suggested. Programs for splicers training, fire fighting, safety precautions, record preparation and maintenance are described and ways are explained to make the job comprehensive and attractive to workers. Training and continued education are also suggested for the engineers. A lot depends on how the engineer tackles his technical and administrative problems., A knowledge of human factors in engineering and technology, and modern management tools are also necessary for the engineer for efficient decision making. A utility engineer must be well equipped with the modern engineering developments and have a broad spectrum of knowledge and training. To help the engineer to understand his duties in rendering his services to the organization, duties and capacities of different engineers are discussed. This may also help the organization to appreciate and realize the engineering services, and make better selections of personnel in the future. For the successful operation of a fast expanding utility much can be gained by a thorough analysis and control of the problems which are at hand and which may be confronted in the near future. These problems are discussed clearly and recommendations for improvements are made. Renovation is a process of constant struggle and achievement. Perserverence in thinking and constant struggle for betterment are the gateway to improvement. And, a change of attitude in itself is a great achievement.
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