Moving to the Kingdom? Then setting up utilities in Saudi Arabia will be one of the first things you need to do in your new home.
In some ways, organizing domestic utilities in Saudi Arabia is much the same as it is anywhere else. This helpful guide explains exactly how to do it, and includes the following information:
- Utilities in Saudi Arabia
- Electricity in Saudi Arabia
- Gas in Saudi Arabia
- Water supply in Saudi Arabia
- Energy efficiency and green energy alternatives
- Rubbish collection and disposal in Saudi Arabia
- Paying utility bills in Saudi Arabia
- Useful resources
Utilities in Saudi Arabia
If you are setting up utilities in Saudi Arabia, you will notice that you don’t have a lot of options. That is because the country relies heavily on government-run public companies for electricity, water, and gas. However, this effectively makes things a lot easier for you.
Generally, the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) regulates utilities in Saudi Arabia. However, the production and supply of these utilities are mostly handled by other public companies.
Electricity in Saudi Arabia
Electricity in the Kingdom comes mostly from crude oil and fossil fuels. However, the government is trying to change this by pushing solar and nuclear power solutions. The country is the fastest-growing electricity consumer in the Gulf. It is also the 15th largest consumer of energy in the world. In summer especially, electricity use soars as residents blast their air-cons to beat the heat.
Saudi Arabia uses type A, B, C, and G sockets. Normally, you will see the type G plugs; these are the British-style sockets with three rectangular pins. The standard voltage here is 220V with a frequency of 60Hz.
The MEW regulates electricity in Saudi Arabia and keeps a tight rein on the industry. This means that your supply should be good – and safe.
Electricity suppliers in Saudi Arabia
You will have to deal directly with the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) while setting up utilities in Saudi Arabia. That is because the company is the only distributor of electricity in the country. The SEC is a public company, and the government owns more than 80% of it.
Connecting and disconnecting electricity in Saudi Arabia
The SEC has made it quite easy to set up and disconnect domestic electricity in Saudi Arabia. In most cases, you will be able to use their online portal, Hesabi. First, you will have to sign up for a Hesabi account. You will need to provide some personal details; you will then receive a one-time password to confirm the signup. During the process, you will have to input your:
- E-mail address
- Phone number
- ID details
- Date of birth
Next, you will receive an email that will let you activate your account. After this, you can confirm the service connection at your new address.
To disconnect your supply, you will have to remove the address from your account. Then, you will transfer the supply to the property owner or the new tenants. You can usually also do this through the Hesabi portal.
Changing electricity suppliers in Saudi Arabia
The SEC is the sole supplier of electricity in Saudi Arabia. Because of this, you will not need to change suppliers during your stay here.
Electricity costs and tariffs in Saudi Arabia
Residential electricity supplies are charged at standard rates. You will be charged SAR0.18/kwh up to 6,000kwh of consumption. After that, the rate nearly doubles to SAR0.3/kwh. In addition, your bill will also include a standard monthly fee for your meter. The breaker capacity of each meter will determine this charge. However, you can expect this fee to be between SAR10 and SAR40 each month.
Reporting electrical faults and carrying out electrical repairs in Saudi Arabia
The SEC has a service called Alkahraba Friend. You should use this to report any electrical faults or problems with your supply. You can use the service by filling out an online form or reaching out to them on twitter @ALKAHRABAFRIENDS. Alternatively, you can send them a WhatsApp message at 0533991100.
Making a complaint about an electricity company in Saudi Arabia
If you have a complaint about the SEC, you will have to take it up directly with them. You can do this online through Alkahraba Friends, the company website, or their social media accounts. You can also reach them on Twitter. Similarly, you can call their service center at 920001100.
The SEC takes complaints seriously. Because of this, you may be entitled to compensation. Check the website to see if this applies to you. If the SEC does not resolve your complaint within 15 days, you are entitled to a minimum SAR75 compensation. To make a claim, you must submit a request within a month of the 15 days resolution period.
Gas in Saudi Arabia
Domestic gas in Saudi Arabia usually comes in the form of LPG containers. These are mostly from GASCO. This centralized public company was created in 1963 through a merger of the National Gas Company and the Saudi Manufacturing and Gas Company. However, in certain cases, your property may come with a centralized gas connection from a different company.
Gas suppliers in Saudi Arabia
For your domestic gas in Saudi Arabia, you will usually get LPG containers from a GASCO distributor. However, if you are one of the lucky ones that have a centralized connection, you may get your supply from a private company such as Unigaz. This company provides central gas systems to upmarket residential buildings throughout the country.
Connecting and disconnecting gas in Saudi Arabia
If you need a tank installation for your gas connection, you can request one on the GASCO website. However, it is more likely that you will simply need to get regular deliveries of LPG gas cylinders. These come in 26.5 or 52.5-liter capacities.
Normally, you can collect GASCO LPG cylinders from petrol stations and supermarkets nearby. However, there is now a more convenient option. Gasable is a handy app that works with distributors around Riyadh to deliver cylinders right to your doorstep. Simply register an account and request delivery. Think of this as Uber Eats for your cooking gas.
Changing gas suppliers in Saudi Arabia
If you use GASCO cylinders, you may need to find a different distributor if you move. Or, your new place may have a central system. Either way, you should not have too many difficulties. You will quickly be able to figure out what supply you have and how to reconnect at your new home.
Gas costs and tariffs in Saudi Arabia
A 26.5- liter GASCO cylinder will usually cost around SAR150. However, the newer fiberglass cylinders are SAR290. To refill each cylinder, you will usually pay SAR16.
Reporting gas faults and carrying out gas repairs in Saudi Arabia
If you experience any faults with your gas in Saudi Arabia, you should reach out to your landlord. They will usually point you in the right direction to solve the problem. However, if you are a GASCO customer, you can also go directly to the company.
Making a complaint about a gas company in Saudi Arabia
Water supply in Saudi Arabia
In most parts of Saudi Arabia – including Riyadh and Jeddah – your domestic water supply will come from the National Water Company. This is because this public company is the sole national supplier of water in the Kingdom.
However, water is regulated by the MEW. The department is also responsible for water supplies for smaller regions in the Kingdom. Because of the way water is regulated in Saudi Arabia, tap water is generally safe to drink. However, bottled water is still widely used.
Water suppliers in Saudi Arabia
As previously mentioned, most expats get their domestic water in Saudi Arabia from the National Water Company. This is especially true if they are living in Riyadh, Jeddah, or Taif. In other places, you may have to deal with a subsidiary of the MWE.
Connecting and disconnecting water in Saudi Arabia
You will have to register an account to get your domestic supply of water in Saudi Arabia. However, this is a relatively simple process and you can complete this online. You will need to provide certain details such as:
- Your name
- A phone number
- Your e-mail address
- Your IQAMA (local ID) or another form of government ID
- Date of birth
Once this is done, you can add your address to complete the account and connection. If you need to disconnect your water supply, the process is quite similar.
Changing water suppliers in Saudi Arabia
Because the water in Saudi Arabia is mostly supplied by the National Water Company, you probably won’t need to change suppliers.
Water costs and tariffs in Saudi Arabia
Tariffs for water in Saudi Arabia operate in a tiered system. You can see the appropriate prices below:
- 0–50 cubic meters/month: SAR0.1/m³
- 51–100 cubic meters/month: SAR0.15/m³
- 101-20 cubic meters/month: SAR2/m³
- 201–300 cubic meters/month: SAR4/m³
- Over 300 cubic meters/month: SAR6/m³
Reporting water leaks/faults and carrying out water repairs in Saudi Arabia
If you have a problem with your water supply, you can contact the National Water Company. However, if there is a leak or fault within your home, you will have to let your landlord know and find a plumber.
Making a complaint about a water company
Because the MWE regulates water in Saudi Arabia, you can file a complaint about your water company with them. You will normally be able to do this online through their website.
Energy efficiency and green energy alternatives
Since 1998, Saudi Arabia has been making major restructures to build a more sustainable electricity sector. However, factors such as high growth, low generation capacity, and inefficient energy use have made this very challenging.
Still, there are a number of policies aiming to increase public awareness and improve energy regulation and legislation. Through this, the government hopes to reduce demand by 5–10%.
At the 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Saudi Arabia said it would aim to generate a third of its electricity from solar power by 2032. Additionally, the country says it will open 17 new nuclear reactors over the next 20 years. All of these programs mean that Saudi Arabia is ranked 6th in solar energy production.
The government is similarly targeting water use. Water in Saudi Arabia is scarce, yet the country is the third-largest consumer of water in the world. Because of this, in March 2019, they announced the aim of reducing water use to just 150 liters by 2030.
Rubbish collection and disposal in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s rapid industrialization has created a big rubbish problem. The Kingdom generates some 15 million tons of solid waste every year. Currently, waste disposal is handled quite haphazardly with a mix of government or municipal organizations and private companies.
Recycling is still a new concept in Saudi Arabia. In fact, only 10%-15% of waste is currently being recycled in the country. However, steps are being taken to fix the situation.
In July 2019, the National Waste Management Center, Saudi Investment Recycling Company, and Riyadh Municipality signed a memorandum of understanding to launch integrated waste management and recycling activities in Riyadh. With this, their goal is to recycle 81% of solid waste in the city by 2035.
Paying utility bills in Saudi Arabia
The SEC delivers monthly electricity bills to its customers. Your bill will have important information such as your name, address, and account number. In addition, you will be able to see exactly how much electricity you are using and how much you are paying for this.
Of course, the most important thing will be the bill total, which will be at the bottom. You should note that you can choose to receive your bill by email or SMS as well as by post.
You can pay your SEC bill online, by phone, or with a credit card. The company also offers payment plans. For example, you can choose the Fixed Bill option.
With this, you will be charged a fixed monthly rate based on your average consumption over the last 12 months. Similarly, you can opt to pay half of each bill every month and have the remainder carried to the next month.
Your water bill from the National Water Company will operate in a similar fashion. However, you will not usually have access to the same types of payment plans.
Generally, if your supplies get turned off, you can rectify the situation quite easily. You will simply need to pay the full amount owed on the account. After that, your electricity and water supply will be turned on again quite quickly.