Random power cuts take heavy toll on residents of As-Suwayda 

Electricity Poles (Expressive photo)-(Reuters)

Electricity Poles (Expressive photo)-(Reuters)


As-Suwayda – Rayan al-Atrash

It took Omar five years to purchase the electrical appliances for his house,  in which he has lived with his bride, for only three months. Unluckily, in one month, he lost them all because of their damage by random power cuts.

The power outage is not new to the residents of the Syrian governorates, except that the change in the power cut schedule and the recurrence of the random power cuts in the governorate of As-Suwayda, which protested against poor services and the worse living conditions during June and July, caused losses to most of the residents of As-Suwayda.  

Repair or permanent loss?!

Dozens of customers enter electrical repair services every day to buy spare parts for their home appliances that have been damaged by sudden power cuts, and the price of the cheapest parts is five thousand Syrian pounds ( SYP – It is worth two and a half US dollars).

Sameh al-Abdullah, a maintenance store owner, attributed the breakdowns of home appliances and electrical devices to the indiscretion of the Syrian regime’s Ministry of Electricity. He told Enab Baladi that cutting the electricity in a random, frequent, and sudden pattern, up to three times per hour, causes electronic circuit faults of the devices. 

The duration of the power cuts ranges between five to ten minutes each time, and once the power is back, the current is either very high voltage or very low.

Omar (aged 30 years), in an interview with Enab Baladi, said that he lost more than one million SYP (about 500 dollars) due to the breakdown of his household electrical machines. He needs more than two years of work to compensate for his loss, taking into account that he earns an official monthly salary of only 40,000 (about 20 dollars), he told Enab Baladi.

 Another government employee like Omar, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not find a solution to compensate for his losses, which amounted to 500,000 SYP (around 234 USD), except by requesting a loan to get the disruptive electrical equipment repaired, because his salary does not exceed 50,000 (23.4 USD) per month, and it is not sufficient to meet the needs of his family for a week.

Unconvincing justifications: hot weather and economic sanctions

 The Syrian regime’s Ministry of Electricity justified the power cut with “high temperatures” and “economic sanctions.”The Ministry of Electricity said in a statement released on 28 July, that “The limited energy carriers necessary to operate all power generating sets as a result of the blockade and economic sanctions, in addition to the prevailing weather conditions and the sharp rise in temperatures … led to a decrease in the performance of these sets by 50  percent during the daytime,” with the occurrence of “faults beyond our control” that required maintenance and power cuts.

The statement of the ministry was met with disapproval and abhorrence.

Most citizens commented on the justification of the Ministry of Electricity, saying that this is “an excuse worse than sin.”

Omar complains that he is not waiting for data or words from the ministry. Still, he wants compensation for his loss, noting that some countries experience temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius without cutting off the power for one minute, and he described the ministry’s justifications as “unconvincing,” holding the government fully responsible for the breakdown of his electrical equipment.

The power cut in the electricity rationing program in the province of As-Suwayda during previous years was between two and six hours per day. Since the end of last winter, the power cut stopped, before it resumed randomly three months ago.  The random power cuts coincided with the outbreak of demonstrations, where people protested against miserable living conditions, demanded to implement reforms and bring down the Syrian regime, at the beginning of last June. A few days later, the demonstrations stopped after the arrest of some demonstrators who were later released.

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