Damascus: Power rationing increases, ampere system expands

Power generators for ampere subscriptions in Damascus markets - May 15, 2023 (Damascus Voice)

Power generators for ampere subscriptions in Damascus markets - May 15, 2023 (Damascus Voice)

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The expansion of the selling of electricity generated from private diesel generators to citizens (ampere subscriptions) continues, especially with the arrival of winter and the long power outages, and the inability of the government to improve the electricity situation.

This spread coincides with the Syrian government’s acknowledgment of its inability to solve the electricity problem in its controlled areas.

Wissam Mohammed, the director of the Lighting Office in Damascus Governorate, announced the spread of wall boxes in the industrial zone of Damascus city to install switches for the ampere generators, thereby expanding this system within the capital.

The director added that the cost of the fees for amperes is 450,000 Syrian pounds, including the application, the switch, and the special template for the system. The price per kilowatt is 13,000 Syrian pounds.

​​The US dollar is trading at 14,000 SYP according to the S-P Today website, which covers the trading rate of the Syrian pound to the dollar. At the start of the conflict in 2011, the dollar was trading at 47 pounds.

Majd Hallaq, a member of the Executive Office in Damascus Governorate, explained that the ampere generators in the industrial zone are licensed, and the service might extend to the al-Amin and al-Shaghour streets.

He explained that as for the subscriptions they are not the responsibility of the governorate, as its tasks are limited to determining the fees for occupying the places where the generators will be placed, as reported by Athar Press media outlet.

Ampere trade

Since the beginning of winter, power cuts (rationing) in Damascus have increased to at least eight hours of disconnection for less than one hour of connection, with variation in the cuts between one area and another.

Bassem Mohammed (32), residing in the industrial zone, explained to Enab Baladi his suffering from power rationing, stating that he will not resort to subscribing to ampere generators as he considers it expensive and limited.

He believes that the best option in the current situation is to install solar panels instead of paying a monthly amount.

However, in addition to the cost of solar panels, the director of Damascus Electricity, Mohammed Mahla, previously clarified that the governorate obliged citizens to obtain approval for installation in order to comply with certain elevations and conditions.

Fadia, 41, was forced to subscribe to a system estimated at 2 amperes, paying 330,000 Syrian pounds monthly.

Fadia lives in the Sahnaya suburbs of the capital, Damascus, and explained that the 2 amperes power the lighting and refrigerator in her home, and if she wants to run the washing machine from time to time, she has to disconnect the refrigerator from the power.

Fadia relied on LEDs for a long time, but the crisis is still worsening, and there are no solutions on the horizon, so she resorted to ampere subscribing despite its high cost.

According to previous statements by the Minister of Electricity, Ghassan al-Zamel, Syria needs at least six thousand megawatts, but the improvement of electricity is linked to the availability of energy carriers and the readiness of power stations and grids.

Indifferent government

Syrian regime’s President Bashar al-Assad clarified in his meeting with engineers and workers at the new power station in Baniyas that there is “no technical centralization” to solve the electricity problem in general. This comes at a time when the spread of ampere generators in Syria is increasing.

“Either you pay or you live in deprivation,” said Hassan (46), who lives in his father’s house in Harasta suburbs with his siblings and their families.

Hassan told Enab Baladi that their situation is the same as the people in the region, as ampere subscriptions have become a reality, so their family subscribed to five amperes and pays 360,000 pounds monthly.

“The government does not show any commitment to ensuring its citizens’ needs and does not care about their problems. It’s all about business,” Hassan said, referring to the citizens being forced to subscribe to ampere generators because the state will not provide them with electricity.

 

 

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