Idlib: Voltage fluctuation affects electrical devices

An electrical current regulator in the city of Idlib, northwestern Syria - October 31, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)

An electrical current regulator in the city of Idlib, northwestern Syria - October 31, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)


Idlib – Anas al-Khouli

Omar suffers from frequent breakdowns of the electrical equipment he relies on in his barber shop due to the unstable voltage in the city of Idlib, northwestern Syria.

The malfunction of the equipment in the young man’s shop exhausted him financially and turned him into a regular customer at the maintenance shops, and he was also forced to buy a spare kit as an alternative in “emergency” cases.

Idlib residents suffer from many electrical appliance malfunctions due to voltage fluctuations and their inability to install current regulation devices despite their low reliance on electrical appliances due to their high prices and poor quality.

The Idlib-based Omar al-Asheq, 34, said that in his work, he relies on several electrical appliances without which he cannot work, such as heating devices, hair dryers, shaving machines, and others.

Al-Asheq told Enab Baladi that the cost of maintaining them is high, attributing the reason for the frequent breakdowns to the poor quality of electrical appliances available in the markets and the irregularity of the electrical current, pointing out that he used to buy German-made appliances that lasted for long periods, but now he buys two pieces of each appliance.

Unstable power supply

Erratic power supply is a normal condition in the city of Idlib. To solve this problem, residents usually rely on electricity regulating devices, but the high price of these devices and their heavy consumption of electricity prevent them from being able to use them.

Abdul-Rahman Afara, owner of an industrial electrical appliances and regulators maintenance shop in Idlib, told Enab Baladi that the intensity of the electrical current must be 220 volts and the voltage 50H hertz so that the electrical appliances do not malfunction.

Afara explained that the rise and fall of tension is a natural condition with no solution other than relying on electricity regulation devices to ensure the protection of these devices, but people today do not use such devices in their homes.

He attributed the reasons for citizens not installing these regulators to the lack of electrical appliances that people use compared to the past, pointing out that today they only use what is necessary, as well as to the high prices of electricity, the large consumption of electricity by the regulators and the high price as well.

The price of a hand-made electrical regulator of average quality with a capacity of ten thousand candles is $100 (About 2,800 TL) and more, according to Afara.

Day labor wages in Idlib city range between 40 TL and 70 TL depending on the profession, such as construction, agriculture, and loading goods, and the number of working hours at an unstable pace due to the lack of such work at all times. These wages do not meet the family’s minimum needs.

Afara stated that the average voltage of the electrical current in Idlib is 45 hertz, but the severe decrease occurs after the electricity is interrupted and restored, which causes severe damage to electrical devices.

The maintenance technician recommended disconnecting the main circuit breaker in homes and turning it on shortly after the power returns so that the tension would stabilize.

Low quality

A number of maintenance technicians attributed the large number of malfunctions to the poor quality of electrical appliances and their severe damage with any change in the intensity of the electrical current, no matter how slight.

Abdul-Rahman Radwan, owner of a maintenance shop, stated that the instantaneous change in the intensity or tension of the current negatively affects the devices, and here comes the role of their quality, considering that good electrical devices are not greatly affected by this change, which makes their lifespan longer than the bad devices that are greatly damaged.

Radwan receives broken electrical appliances of various types daily, and with a simple inspection it becomes clear that the main cause of these breakdowns is poor manufacturing and lack of quality, pointing out that the severity of the damage depends on the type of part, as electric motors are less affected than other types, such as heating devices, for example.

Old electrical appliances are much better than the new ones on the market, he said, calling on the concerned authorities to monitor the import of these parts, impose strict procedures on the introduction of electrical appliances, and ensure their quality to prevent merchant manipulation.

Hamdo al-Jassim, director of public relations at the ministry of economy of the Syrian Salvation Government (SSG), said that goods enter the Idlib region through several supplier companies and that spare parts are available in many companies.

In a previous interview with Enab Baladi, al-Jassim stated that there are maintenance parts that cost more than the cost of the device itself, and the quantities that enter from the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey are large and sufficient for the local market.

According to al-Jassim, several merchants have exclusive agencies to import these devices, and they are responsible for maintaining what they import, and if there is any case of monopoly, the ministry of economy works to follow it up and hold the importer accountable.



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