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Five years on…

Five years usually is a substantially long enough period for reflection and remedial action

| | Jun 15, 2017 | 6:27 pm
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In a 2012 interview with Climate Control Middle East, Zulfiqar Mooraj, the Managing Director of Samson Controls FZE in the UAE, said that charging people for compensating for lack of full occupancy is a bane of District Cooling. Utility providers, he added, are passing on the results of their decisions to those that have occupied the units in the development served by District Cooling. Shifting his focus to a technical aspect, he said pumps need to pump chilled water to the farthest residential unit but, at the same time, should not flood the nearest unit. The importance of focusing on hydraulic balancing, he said, cannot be over-emphasised, else District Cooling will not be an effective proposition from an energy efficiency point of view.

Five years on, it is disconcerting to note that the discordant voices continue, which means District Cooling as an industry is desperately in need of a massive dose of introspection. Speaking as recently as April 2017, Dominic McPolin, Chief, Central Planning Office, Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs & Urban Planning, Bahrain, reeled off a string of questions, which he said people kept asking him, and which he felt needed a sincere attempt at answering for the wellbeing of District Cooling in the region.

Let’s sample some of them..

    • Why should I buy an apartment with District Cooling, because I feel insecure as District Cooling is a monopoly, and I have no alternative cooling option?
    • How can I be sure that the company will not inflate the cost of cooling in later years to increase profits?
    • How can I promote a District Cooling provision for an urban area in this climate, when there is no safety net if the private company goes bankrupt? What happens to the customers and the company’s assets? Are we left to talking to the bank for continuous service?
Five years usually is a substantially long enough period for reflection and remedial action. In the region, though, evidence suggests that those steps have not been visited with the forcefulness and thoroughness that they deserve, else we still would not be battling with issues like hydraulic balancing and owner discontent over tariffs. There is need for a greater show of intent and for the industry to come together as a team to earnestly address long-standing issues. The need for action is not an option but an essential feature in the drive towards greater maturity.

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