Wednesday 19, August 2015

Dubai- MENA Herald: For over five decades, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) has supported the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of Dubai and the UAE. This is done using a clearly-defined strategy and an array of pioneering initiatives that contribute to achieving its strategic goal to support the National identity. DEWA adopts integrated proven methodologies in leadership, strategy, human resources, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) that supports its motto ‘For generations to come’. This emphasises its commitment towards the future of the UAE and fellow citizens within the framework of a wider and more effective concept of social responsibility.

DEWA’s role is not limited to providing power and water services according to the highest standards of quality, efficiency, and reliability. It contributes to accelerating the pace of economic growth and development in Dubai and the UAE. This is done by launching leading projects and innovative initiatives that will open new markets, attract major investments, and create quality jobs. All these efforts will eventually benefit the country and its citizens. DEWA’s efforts are underpinned by an unwavering belief in its role as a socially-responsible government organisation.

Over the years, DEWA has proved its economic efficiency as an organisation that enjoys a strong financial position and trust by global investors. DEWA has been upgraded by Moody’s to Baa2, and Standard & Poor’s has given it a credit rating of BBB. DEWA’s investments in the energy sector of approximately AED 60 billion over the next five years will enhance production of electricity and water, renewable energy, and smart grids. This supports its strategy for sustainability at the economic, social, and environmental levels.

DEWA considers enhancing a culture of loyalty and National belonging is key to establishing a cohesive society with a prevalent sense of a shared identity with all its core components of religion, language, homeland, heritage, and culture. DEWA values its CSR as an indispensable value that vitally contributes to achieving its strategic objective to promote the National identity.

DEWA has rolled out a number of performance indicators to measure stakeholders’ satisfaction levels with respect to commitment and support to the National identity. The results have shown marked improvement in 2014 jumping to 86.12%, from 81.55% in 2013.

DEWA launches several internal and external initiatives that support the UAE National identity. In 2014, DEWA organised 43 social initiatives, totalling 6,385 volunteer hours. It held 20 social partnerships and 17 social awareness workshops. DEWA ranked first position in the companies’ survey and second in individuals’ survey in 2014 in its social position compared to local and global organisations.

Initiatives that promote National identity

DEWA has launched various initiatives that contribute to building an inclusive and cohesive society. One such example is presenting exemption packages for UAE citizens regarding their electricity and water use, acting on the generous gesture of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who ordered in October 2011, that free-of-charge slab of UAE nationals’ use be raised from 10,000 to 20,000 gallons/month for their private houses and farms. All amounts that exceed this slab will be charged only 1.5 fils per gallon. His Highness also ordered that all UAE Nationals who receive social subsidies from Ministry of Social Affairs be exempt from the electricity consumption tariff up to a maximum limit of 6,000 kW/month, with the excessive amount being charges according to UAE Nationals’ slab system. To support the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to relieve limited-income Emiratis, DEWA bears AED25,000 towards the costs of new electricity connections to private houses of UAE low-income nationals in Dubai. In most cases, this covers the entire cost. DEWA signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai’s Community Development Authority to initiate the necessary procedures for the implementation of this leading social initiative.

To support creativity and innovation, DEWA sent 20 students to Singapore for 6 days for phase two of the Ruwaad (Arabic for pioneers) initiative to encourage creativity in orphans, which DEWA launched, in cooperation with the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation and INJAZ UAE. The Ruwaad programme supports the UAE Initiative for Connection with Orphans and Minors, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

DEWA recently launched a new CSR initiative under the name Al Saada (Arabic for ‘happiness’) to create a smart innovative entertainment platform, the first of its kind in the region that focuses on turning people’s kinetic and mechanical energy from exercise into electricity. This is achieved by specially-designed innovative recreational equipment that anyone can use, including people with special needs and children of six years and older. The move supports DEWA’s strategy to be an integral part of people’s lives in Dubai, and its vision to become a sustainable innovative world-class utility. It also underlines DEWA’s CSR efforts, which support social development efforts to make society happier, enhance people’s happiness and contribute to greater welfare.

Marking the 11th anniversary of the passing away of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, DEWA launched a number of charitable and philanthropic initiatives on Zayed Humanitarian Work Day. It extended its Platinum sponsorship to ‘Watani Emarat Humanitarian Work Award,’ which is organised under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council. The Award is organised on Zayed Humanitarian Day, which has become a major annual fixture in the UAE’s agenda for launching charitable and humanitarian initiatives in favour of millions around the world.

Each year, DEWA organises its Anwar Dubai mass wedding for its National male and female staff under the patronage of HH Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance and President of DEWA. This supports DEWA’s commitment to employees’ social stability and giving them peace of mind and a good start in life.

DEWA sponsors Sanad cards to provide services for people with disabilities, including valet parking in all its branches, wheelchair and Maraheb service, in addition to providing priority services for customers with special needs. The Zakher Card provides a better lifestyle for the elderly in Dubai, in recognition of their contributions and their role in community building and development, and adheres to the teachings of Islam, and the customs and traditions of the Emirati community.

Other CSR initiatives by DEWA include the ‘Flag over our home’ campaign to raise UAE flags over the houses of the elderly in Dubai and share the UAE National Day celebrations with them, in cooperation with the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation. DEWA’s staff collected money for solar-powered projects in mosques, poor people’s houses and orphanages in China. DEWA donated five million dirhams to supply fresh drinking water to 200,000 people in underprivileged countries. This was part of DEWA’s participation in the UAE Water Aid initiative, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to provide potable water to 5 million people in countries that suffer from acute water shortage.

Each day, throughout the Holy Month of Ramadan, over 2,400 people benefited from DEWA’s daily Iftar meals, which was one of the events held at DEWA’s Ramadan tents set up at its headquarters and a number of its branches. Several other religious, cultural, and social events and activities were also organised to promote the spirit of tolerance, compassion and selflessness among staff. During the Holy Month of Ramadan, DEWA participated as a major sponsor of the 4th ‘Ramadan Aman’ campaign organised by Al Ihsan Charity Association. As part of the initiative, DEWA staff are distributing Iftar meals to drivers on the roads and at traffic intersections before Maghrib prayers during Ramadan. The initiative is held in collaboration with police departments from different Emirates. It highlights the noble values of the late Sheikh Zayed, especially in promoting humanitarian activities that are close to Emirati culture.

DEWA organises Arweehom (Arabic for ‘Quench their Thirst’) campaign to provides DEWA employees and labourers of contracting companies working in DEWA’s projects with meals, bottles of cold water and food-storage bags. Farhat Eid (The Joy of Eid) is another CSR initiative by DEWA to honour the society’s unsung heroes like mosque imams, school guards, police staff, cleaners, nurses, and other members of society who work during the holidays for the comfort of other members of society.

Rational use for sustainable development

Protecting the environment and rationalising consumption is a strategic priority for DEWA. It organises different events and activities, and launches awareness campaigns, initiatives, and programmes to encourage society to use natural resources responsibly and raise their awareness about the best green practices. Rationalisation has tremendous environmental, economic, and social benefits that support the sustainable development of Dubai and help achieve the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to reduce energy demand by 30% by 2030.

Through its conservation initiatives, DEWA has succeeded in reducing consumption over the past six years by 1,163 GW of electricity, and 5.4 billion gallons of water, equivalent to AED 752 million and a saving of over 536,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

These impressive results were based on numerous initiatives. For example, DEWA organises its annual Best Consumer Award as part of its continuous efforts to consolidate the foundations of sustainable development and promote a culture of sensible use in society, particularly for the residential sector which accounts for 74% and 81% of electricity and water use, respectively. The Best Consumer Award encourages DEWA’s customers from the residential sector to conserve electricity and water, and adopt eco-friendly practices to limit the use of natural resources necessary for generating electricity and desalinating water. This in turn, reduces pollution and limit carbon emissions.

DEWA adopts power and water demand management initiatives in response to sustainable development requirements as a major strategic direction in Dubai’s strategy, to rationalise and control consumption, preserve natural resources and protect the environment. Implementation of this strategy will position Dubai as a role model in energy security and efficiency.  It will also avoid and defer additional capacities, contribute to the development of a green economy and support the achievement of sustainable development goals.

The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy has launched the energy demand management strategy, which includes eight major programs including green building specifications and systems, retrofitting the existing buildings, central district cooling of districts, enhancing the standards and efficiency of appliances, equipment and lighting, reusing treated water for irrigation purposes, and enhancing the efficiency of street lighting. The accumulative costs for implementing this strategic ambitious program at the present value are AED 30 billion, while the savings at the present value could reach about AED 82 billion. The net total savings could reach AED 52 billion. DEWA supports Directive No. 1 of 2015, issued by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy to monitor electricity and water use of governmental building in the Emirate of Dubai. This supports the Dubai Plan 2021, and the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to reduce energy demand by 30% by 2030. DEWA enhances Dubai’s position as a role model in financing the energy efficiency projects both at regional and global levels.

In this regard, DEWA furnished a number of mosques in Dubai with advanced equipment to achieve the best water rationalisation rates. As part of the campaign, in cooperation with Beit Al Khair Society, DEWA replaced water and electrical devices with more efficient ones in a number of houses that belong to people with limited-income in Dubai.

Emiratisation is key to National identity at DEWA

DEWA has an integrated strategy to promote Emiratisation. This is underlined by its allocation of 300 jobs to new graduates in technical and administrative majors. The organisation also follows an ambitious plan to increase the percentage of Emiratis who work at DEWA and has already achieved excellent results with UAE Nationals comprising 83.53% of senior management, 44.39% middle management, and 33.38% in non-supervisory positions.

DEWA’s Emiratisation includes launching ambitious programmes to train and prepare Emiratis to enter the technical fields in this vitally significant sector. The scholarship programme offered is subject to the rules, regulations, and scholarship procedures adopted at DEWA. To qualify for the scholarship, a student’s high school rate must be 80%, at least. After completing their bachelor’s degrees at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Dubai, scholarship recipients will be hired in engineering positions at DEWA where they will receive competitive packages.

Based on its deep conviction of education’s fundamental role for personal and professional development, DEWA offers scholarships in Electrical Engineering in collaboration with the Higher Colleges of Technology – Dubai Men’s College. DEWA’s programmes also include ‘Intilaq’ that offers a Bachelor of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering degree from private and government universities across the UAE. It also collaborates with the UAE University to offer a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

DEWA also attracts university and college students for summer training in a variety of disciplines, including engineering, finance and management. The average number of trainees over the past three years was 126. It also offers training for college freshmen and high school students, and practical training for university students as a requirement for graduation.

DEWA prepares UAE youth both academically and practically to enable them to assume positive career roles and gain a competitive edge in the labour market. Some of the most important training programmes are:

  • Leadership Programme in collaboration with Dubai University (Frontiers programme). It is a training program for DEWA’s deputy managers and Assistant Mangers in the series development program for young leaders to develop and prepare the second row leaders to take over responsibility.
  • Women Leadership Programme to enhance the management and leadership skills of female employees, enabling them to spearhead DEWA’s work, expand its horizons, achieve more development and excellence and enhance women’s contributions and role in society.
  • Training UAE nationals abroad in globally renowned companies like RWE and First Solar.
  • Masar training programme for new Emirati staff in Customer Relations Department.
  • Continuous onsite training for staff
  • Educational programmes and specialised courses with international accreditation.
  • Scholarships for UAE employees to attend training courses, workshops and conferences abroad.

In 2013, DEWA collaborated with the UK’s Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC), a global vocational training organisation, to launch the DEWA Academy. It prepares young Emiratis in various technical and professional fields through academic and practical training covering different areas of the industry including generation, transmission and distribution of electricity and desalination of water. DEWA grants graduate students who have completed years of study in its Academy a degree from BTCE, one of the pioneering vocational-rehabilitation entities in the world. DEWA Academy plays a significant role in training Emirati technicians thanks to its advanced curricula that comply with the highest international standards. It provides trainees with the required technical and professional capacities to compete in the highly competitive labour market due to the development the business market is witnessing in Dubai and the world.