30 July 2003

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Enemalta adopts blackout policy despite denials

By Kurt Sansone
While Enemalta chairman Tancred Tabone has denied that the company is adopting a blackout policy to stave off electricity overloads caused by increased demand, irate residents are being told by Enemalta staff that power cuts are being applied on a roster basis.
Speaking to our sister newspaper MaltaToday last Sunday, Mr Tabone denied the company was adopting a blackout policy, reiterating that the energy company had enough capacity to cater for the electricity demands of the Maltese Islands.
He told MaltaToday that the company had no "procedures or plans for blackouts", insisting that "blackouts are just a case of strong power surges."
However residents, predominantly from the north of the island, have contacted The Malta Financial and Business Times to voice their anger at what they claim is a policy to suspend electricity in different parts of the country to avoid power overloads.
One resident from Burmarrad was last week told that electricity would be restored to her area within 10 minutes and that at the same time electricity would be suspended in Iklin. "We are switching off different areas to avoid overloads," the resident was told by an Enemalta employee over the phone.
The Enemalta web site describes the daily electricity demand for the Maltese Islands as typical of the Mediterranean area with the peak demand in summer occurring during the morning. The web site states that this is predominantly caused by increased demands from the commercial and industrial sectors.
Keeping in line with this profile the Enemalta web site also lists a number of streets and localities that will experience electricity suspension during the morning.
Yesterday electricity was suspended between 8.00am and 12.00pm in various streets in Swieqi and Gzira. According to the Enemalta web site, electricity will be suspended in parts of Madliena, Siggiewi, Rabat and Benghajsa this morning. Some Gzira streets will again experience power cuts tomorrow morning.
With the exception of Benghajsa all announced localities are situated in the north-eastern part of the island. Last week Enemalta said that the north and Gozo alone accounted for an increase in energy demand of 12 per cent.
The Delimara power station has a generation capacity of 304MW while the older Marsa power station has a generation capacity of 267 MW. With the temperature mercury hitting a high, air conditioners are leaving their toll on the electricity grid. The country is not producing enough energy to cater for the changing demands, it seems and the repeated blackouts have left residents and businessmen fuming at the situation reminiscent of the 1980s.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
Tel: (356) 21382741-3, 21382745-6 | Fax: (356) 21385075 | E-mail