Feature: Power blackouts increase Libyan people's suffering

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-26 01:12:55|Editor: huaxia
LIBYA-TRIPOLI-POWER BLACKOUTS 

A destroyed power distribution station is seen in Salah al-Din area, southern Tripoli, Libya, on June 23, 2020. Most Libyan cities, especially Tripoli, suffer from daily power blackouts that last up to 12 hours, especially during winter and summer. The power deficit is almost 2,500 megawatts per day, while the current production is no more than 5,000 megawatts per day. (Photo by Mohamed Arhoma/Xinhua)

TRIPOLI, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Adel Gharmul, a 38-year-old Libyan national, was able to return to his home in south of the capital Tripoli after more than a year of war between the eastern-based army and the UN-backed government.

However, power and water supplies are cut from his neighborhood due to heavy fighting.

"My house, my neighbors and the entire area have no electricity. The power transport poles were completely destroyed, of which maintenance may take weeks for the electricity to return to the area," Gharmul told Xinhua.

"I cannot wait. I was displaced away from my home and stayed at my brother's house for about a year. His house is small and does not accommodate two families with a large number of children. He forced me to buy a generator so that I could power my house and have my family return next week," he said.

"It's true that a power generator provides a temporary solution and enables us to go back to our homes, but it is an economic pressure for the heads of families," he said.

A power generator needs fuel and periodic maintenance, all of which are burdens that not every citizen can afford, particularly with the decline in the weak economic abilities of the Libyans due to the ongoing war and displacement of hundreds of thousands of them away from violence, Gharmul explained.

Most Libyan cities, especially Tripoli, suffer from daily power blackouts that last up to 12 hours, especially during winter and summer. The power deficit is almost 2,500 megawatts per day, while the current production is no more than 5,000 megawatts per day.

Many Libyans use private power generators for their homes and shops. Workshops for power generators maintenance became very popular in Libya over the past few years.

Ibtihal Al-Mizoughi, a Libyan national, believes that electricity has become a "nightmare for Libyans" alongside armed conflict, and that providing power regularly "has become a dream."

"When I go to the headquarters of the Ministry of Education where I work as administrative assistant, I find a blackout. When I return home, I also find a blackout. All of the house's appliances are exposed to breakdowns from time to time. My children no longer bear (to stay) in the house, especially in the summer," she told Xinhua.

"Electricity is cut off for long hours every day. During the curfew hours, we cannot go out, go for a walk, or even go to the beach in Tripoli for fear of coronavirus infection. In fact, Tripoli and Libya in general have become more like prison and life has become unbearable in light of lack of services in general," Al-Mizoughi said.

The state of insecurity and political instability in Libya since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011 prevents foreign companies from returning to the country and resuming suspended power projects.

The total value of contracts for power projects in Libya is 7 billion dinars (5 billion U.S. dollars), while losses of the Libyan power sector over the past few years exceeded 1.5 billion dinars, according to official figures.

Mahmoud Al-Rayani, a media official for the state-owned General Electricity Corporation, explained that there is high demand for power during the summer and winter, which causes a deficit and forces the company to cut power to prevent total collapse of the network.

"There is no solution other than resuming the suspended projects. We have five projects to construct new power plants at a value exceeding 8,000 megawatts, if we can complete them, we will have a surplus of energy that can be sold to neighboring countries," he told Xinhua.

Providing electricity in light of the conditions that Libya is currently going through is a miracle with the continuous attacks and wars, which cause severe damage to the generation and transmission stations and energy towers, Al-Rayani said.

"We work in abnormal conditions, and the electricity workers have proven eagerness to work in the most difficult security conditions," Al-Rayani added.

Armed clashes over the past few years, especially recently in western Libya, caused massive destruction to power facilities, as well as some stores of equipment and spare parts of the General Electricity Company worth millions of U.S. dollars. Enditem

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