Ampere prices draining the life out of Aleppo’s residents
“The price of amperes is rising every week; half of the salary is going there,” Said, who lives in al-Maysar neighborhood, east of Aleppo, complained, expressing his dissatisfaction with the absence of government-provided power services.
He also referred to the owners of large generators, who continue to raise the price of the ampere subscription, which so far amounted to 6,500 Syrian Pounds (SYP; 2.1USD) per week.
“Government-provided power is off all the time, so we resort to amperes (the name locals use to refer to generators’ electricity),” Said told Enab Baladi, requesting that his surname be withheld.
Ampers are supplied to households from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., he added.
He complained about the rapid increase in the prices of amperes. Today, Said pays 6000 SYP per week as a subscription fee for a single ampere, while he used to pay 4000 SYP before winter.
The neighborhood’s residents demanded government-provided power, but the Syrian regime’s relevant departments ignored their calls altogether. This is the reason why the people are coerced to pay the exorbitant prices of amperes, Said added.
Two hours a day
Amer, a resident of Aleppo, who requested that his surname be withheld, spoke of the deteriorating power situation, for power is provided one hour every 12 hours a day.
Due to the frequent power cuts and power surges, some of his electrical appliances were damaged, Amer told Ena Baladi.
The price of the ampere subscription is subject to the whims of the private generators’ owners, as Amer pays 6,500 SYP— 500 SYP more than the subscription fee that Said pays.
High prices, pitch darkness
The high cost of the ampere subscriptions prompted Rabia, a resident of Tariq al-Bab neighborhood, to unsubscribe from the service. This she was coerced to do because she had no one to make her a living, while unable to afford the costs herself
Meanwhile, Rabia uses her neighbors’ subscription to light her house with a single bulb as government power blockages continue.
The high subscription fee urged many families in the region to find alternative solutions. They are using kerosene lanterns to rid themselves of the financial burdens of generators.
Are generators’ owners to blame?
The owners of generators, met by Enab Baladi correspondent in the al-Haidariya neighborhood, attributed the high price to the fact that that they are buying the black-market barrel of fuel for 130,000 SYP (over $ 40).
Because it is winter, the price of fuel is constantly rising, due to the increase in demand for fuel, bought for heating purposes and other household uses.
The generators’ owners were asked to charge people 2,500 SYP for the weekly subscription. However, this fee is “unrealistic and very little,” they said, explaining that ampere prices depend on how much a generator would consume of fuel oil, generator malfunctions, and repair costs.
All these costs must be covered by the subscription fee, the owners said.
The prices of amperes are determined by the city council, which ordered that owners be paid 65 SYP for every hour they operate the generator, Enab Baladi correspondent said. But the owners continue to ignore price regulations, each demanding the price he sees fit.
Residents of the neighborhoods in eastern Aleppo have repeatedly called on local authorities to take measures to control the price of the generators’ services, which owners manipulate. None of the concerned authorities has responded to these calls yet.
Officials of the Syrian regime’s electricity sector attribute the frequent outages and instability of the service to the excessive demand and pressure that render power centers out of service.
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