"Because it's free" was the answer the majority of renters in Kuwait gave for why electricity consumption was on the rise. Electricity is usually included in rent prices, which some renters have been abusing and, inevitably, been contributing to the ever-increasing rate of energy consumption per capita in Kuwait.
According to the US Department of Energy, lighting is a leader in electricity consumption at homes, consuming around 44 percent of electricity used. When there aren't worries of a hefty bill resulting from leaving lights on, it seems it's all too easy to forget about turning them off at all. Increases of electricity consumption in Kuwait, and the Gulf as a whole, have steadily been on the rise. Deloitte released a white paper last week entitled "Energy on Demand: The Future of GCC Energy Efficiency" with findings revealing that per capita electricity consumption is set to rise 2.5 percent per year. This forecast spans all the way to 2035, which poses a daunting prospect if accurate. The Gulf States see a staggering 47 percent of their electricity consumption taken up by residential use.
According to Kenneth McKellar, Partner and Energy and Resources leader at Deloitte Middle East, this is higher than even the amount consumed for residential use in the US. The World Bank's development indicators further revealed that in 1997, the electricity consumption per capita was 12,265 kWh. By 2008, however, it had reached 16,747. Additionally, according to statistics from the Ministry of Electricity and Water Power, power stations in Kuwait are generating around double the electrical energy they were in 1997, when the figure stood at 26,742 million kWh. By 2008, the figure had toppled the 50,000 million kWh mark and stood at 51,749. Current statistics aren't shown, but it's safe to assume that the rates have continued to rise during the three year period from 2005-2008 when electricity generation rose by nearly 8,000 million kWh.
According to the Ministry of Electricity and Water Power, the rise in electricity consumption has been greatly affected by the rapid growth of Kuwait's private and public sectors. Infrastructure in Kuwait has shot up at an impressive rate, so it's not surprising that electrical consumption has risen along with it.
Deloitte's white paper, however, noted that GCC countries put just 10 percent of their electricity to use in industry, a solid 27.7 percent below the global average. The amounts consumed per capita still remain high, which, according to McKellar, requires attention and requires a "rebalancing from residential to industrial sectors in the long-term.
What exactly is draining Kuwait's electricity at such an astounding rate? Interviewees cited cheap prices and inclusive rent packages, while the Ministry of Water and Electricity's 2009 statistical report added another dimension, suggesting that the rise in electricity consumption per capita "reflects the extent of luxury and abundance enjoyed by the people, while plainly indicating aspects of waste and extravagance prompted and encouraged by the very cheap price of electricity.