Eng. Hassan Al Nassay occupied a leading position in Abu Dhabi's power industry since its inception in the early 60s. Throughout his long career, Al Nassay witnessed a lot of significant developments in the water and electricity sector. The man willingly responded to this interview to share with us all his memories.
" During the period 1967 - 1970 I joined Water & Electricity Department (WED) as trainee student working on holidays in the powerhouse, then located on Al Najdah street in the present location of ADWEA's against AED 200.00 per month," he said. " The Powerhouse was a small plant with an output of only 3 MW and it was shifted in 1970 to Mina Street and expanded to include five gas turbines and three water desalination units "Since I was very interested in technical and maintenance works I gained very good expertise and knowledge in this area that was very supportive to me in my career as an engineer afterwards ," he added.
"In 1972 I joined Redhill College of Surry County in the UK, and graduated with a Diploma in Electrical Engineering. By August, 1975 I was officially recruited by WED to work with the power station Operation and Maintenance Team."
Marriage and B.Sc.;
In 1977 I got married and then I proceeded to Colorado State in the USA and graduated with a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering in 1982. When I returned home in the same year I chose to work with the distribution department which offers me a better opportunity of working in direct contact with the public," he added that. Eng. Serhan Ahmed Ali Al Sarhani was the director of the department and Eng. Ahmed Saeed Al Miraikhi was then his deputy.
Load Dispatch Center (LDC);
Mr. Serhan told me that they have plans to establish an LDC and requested me to work in this project with a British consultant engineer whose office was located in Sheikh Saeed bin Mohammed Al Nahyan building in the present Tourist Club area. "Upon the directives of the project manager I visited all power transmission and dispatch stations to record the relevant data, such as the number of transformers and their capacity which formed the basis for the establishment of the center.
Al Nassay recalls that "the estimated budget for the project was only AED 75 million. However, the lowest offer received was AED 150 million due to the world wide monetary crises and the consequential prices escalation. We were therefore, obliged to retender the project hoping to get better offers and were lucky enough to get a bid for AED 200 million as the lowest offer" he recalls. "The Executive Council, under the chairmanship of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the then the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and attendance of H.H Shaikh Surror bin Mohammed, Chairman of WED, and a number of Sheiks and other high ranking officials, summoned us to investigate the reasons behind such price escalation. We in response justified the same as due the international monetary crisis and the fast expansion of the power network. Consequently the whole project was revised and it was proposed that two separate regional load dispatch centers for control of the power networks in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and another one for control of water networks in each of them be established. The council approved the project and allocated a budget of AED 250 million . The lowest offer received was for AED 300 million and we decided to cancel some of the project's unnecessary civil works which do not affect its actual functions. The first stage included the establishment of the center in the present building of the main substation located next to premises of ADDC main office and then shifted to its current location. Al Nassay continued that "During the Second Gulf War the work in the center continued round the clock hours," adding that he had requested Sheikh Dhyab bin Zayed Al Nahyan on his first visit to the center to add some facilities such as monitoring screens to show load distribution on cables and transportation lines all through the day. We also installed ceramic wall painting of Abu Dhabi Cornish as the centre is an great accolade of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a whole.
"I used to visit Eng. Dr. Yahya Abu Gazallah, then Head of the Power Transmission Department, in his office which was located next to our office in the Tourist Club area, and express to him my keen interest in power transmission issues. Upon his resignation in 1984 I requested Eng. Serhan to let me take over his position. Eng. Serhan agreed to my request on condition that I continue to undertake my responsibilities in my present position in the LDC. In 1986 Eng. Serhan quitted his job and requested Al Shaibah Khamis Al Shiryani, Member of the Executive Council, to appoint me as Deputy Director of the Distribution Department. Then we embarked on reorganizing the department functions. He added; "We then had 229 KV OHL from Um Annar to Al Wathba, Ramah and Al Ain and 132 KV OHL from Um Annar to Abu Dhabi International Airport and Abu Dhabi island was supplied by 132 KV underground cables. Sheikh Surror bin Mohammed Al Nahyan then appointed me as Director of the Water Distribution Section while retaining my position as Deputy Director of power Distribution Section, and I managed to reorganize work in water section through the rehabilitation of pumping stations and water transmission and distribution pipelines besides the introduction of new water meters," he said.
"Sheikh Surror is a very good listener and has a lot of wisdom which he learned from the late Sheikh Zayed, God Bless his soul. Sheikh Surror was our mentor and his door was open for all of us and we even used to visit him at home in the evening times. The man had had always time for us despite his congested timetable considering his various responsibilities as head of housing, civil service, the central bank and the presidential affairs departments. My relationship with him was more than that between an employee and boss.
"I was in a state of extreme anger as a result of disagreement with one of my colleagues over a certain issue and so pushed my way into Sheikh Surror's office. After informing him of the issue, to my surprise, H.H reacted to me with a wide smile and gave me some advices that cooled me down. Al Nassay then continued recalling his memories with H.H Sheikh Surror stating that "during the laying of the Abu Dhabi - Al Ain water main pipeline, we discovered that the drawings shows that the pipeline route passes through Sheikh Surror's farm, located just after Al Taweelah bridge on Al Ain direction. Upon informing Sheikh Surror about the matter, he visited the site and directed me to continue with the pipeline laying work as it is since it is in the public interest".
Al Nassay stated that he is very proud to have worked under four chairmen : H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed Al Nahyan H.H Sheikh Surror bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, H.H Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan and finally ADWEA's present chairman: H.E Ahmed Al Mubarak Al Mazroui.
From WED to ADWEA:
Al Nassay applauded the great leap witnessed by the water and electricity sector after the establishment of ADWEA in 1998 under the leadership of Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan; "Who spared no efforts to enhance this sector, particularly the introduction of Independent Water and Power Projects (IWPs) that increased production and enhanced performance of the sector to meet the emirate's needs of utility services in light of the economic and social boom witnessed during the recent years". Al Nassay was the chairman of the founding committee of Transco, ADDC and AADC.
Al Nassay recalls that the water and electricity sector had had a number of highly qualified cadres who assumed leading positions in their later life, for example Abdullah Al Ahbabi who occupied the position of undersecretary in Abu Dhabi Finance Department, the late Mohammed Sultan Abdullah who was appointed as UAE Ambassador to Kuwait and then to the Arab League, Eng. Abdul Moneim Khojali, who became minister of Power and Mining in his country of origin Sudan, Hamoud Al Harthy who also became minister of electricity in the Sultanate of Oman and Saif Salim Al Mamari appointed as undersecretary of the ministry of Electricity in Sultanate of Oman
Al Nassay was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Water and Electricity Club which was located next to Abu Dhabi Power Plant & Zayed Seaport. The Club was hosting the social, cultural and sports activities of the WED staff and had a membership more than 11 thousand from various nationalities. The club had had state-of-the-arts facilities including a swimming pool, gym hall, billiards hall, ball room and a restaurant. The club won Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed cub, Zayed Cup for government entities and many other championships. "I wish if this club is reestablished to continue playing the crucial role it played in the life of the sector's employees," he stated.
I was assigned to replace Saeed Atiq as WED Undersecretary for Remote Areas, the department that was running water and electricity facilities in islands and remote areas. The late Sheikh Zayed was very keen in providing these areas with the best utility services, he said.
Positions occupied and memberships acquired:
- DMD and Member of Board of Directors of Transco.
- Chairman of Board of Directors of the "Emirates SembCorp Water and Power Company".
- Member of Board of Directors o ADDC.
- Member of Board of Directors of the " Emirates CMS Power Company (ECPC)".
- Member of Board of Directors of "Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA)".
- Member of "The Abu Dhabi Contractors Classification Panel, from 1986 to 2006.
- UAE Representative to the " GCC Grid Interconnection Authority".
- Member of the "Abu Dhabi Utilities Higher Commission".
- Chairman of Board of Directors of "Water and Electricity Department Club".
- Chairman of Board of Directors of the "Public Entities Sports Federation".
- Chairman of the "Joint UAE and Sultanate of Oman Grid Interconnection Committee".
Al Nassay has four sons: Ahmed, Majed, Sultan and Khamis and four daughters. He stated that some of them finished their education while the others got married.
"She dedicated herself for her family. She patiently followed up our children and stood behind all my successes. I would like to thank her and I wish I could pay her back," he added.
Al Nassay is fond of swimming, football and billiards.
A Final word:
"I do advice all ADDC's employees to be vigilant and place the company and its customers as their foremost priority. Working in the utility industry is very sensitive one, compared to other areas, as any mistake would affect the public. We also have to show tactfulness and respect to our customers in all cases because they are the real assets of the company," he added.
Finally I would like to thank the ADDC Media Office for this interview.