Clock tower in Zahra area its thermometer indicating 50 degrees Celsius
MPs to debate power cuts as temperature soars Consumption ‘very alarming’

KUWAIT CITY, June 15: Kuwait’s parliament will hold an emergency session on Sunday to study the deteriorating power situation in the country after temperatures and electricity consumption hit record highs.
Twenty-one MPs in the 50-member house demanded the session in a request filed Tuesday after power consumption almost reached the maximum production capacity in the country.
The request said they want the government to explain why power production was barely enough to meet demand and also the reasons for the repeated power cuts in dozens of residential areas.
Consumption peaked at 10,921 megawatts, an all-time high, while the country’s maximum production capacity is under 11,200 megawatts, according to the electricity and water ministry website.
The temperature, meanwhile, soared to 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 Fahrenheit) at around 2:30 pm (1130 GMT) in Kuwait City, the highest this year, according to the state-run meteorological office website.

In the open desert at the Kuwait-Iraq border post of Abdali, the temperature soared to 53 degrees Celsius (127.4 F) for the second straight day on Tuesday.
It is not abnormal for temperatures to hit 50 degrees in Kuwait, but the big heat wave has arrived early this year.
Several residential districts in Kuwait experienced power cuts for several hours during the past few days, but officials said it was because of incidents at transformers and not a programmed power cuts policy.
Minister of Electricity and Water Bader al-Azemi told reporters outside parliament that the power situation this summer will be “very critical” because the continuous operation of generation units could negatively affect them.

He said the power crisis is the result of not building any new power plants since 1988, adding that the government has no objection to holding a parliamentary session.
Three MPs on Tuesday proposed that public sector working hours be reduced to midday instead of 2:30 pm to save electricity.
Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan described the electricity consumption at peak time as “very alarming”.
Speaking to reporters on the problem, the minister urged everybody in the country to live up to their responsibilities by saving electricity.
However, he said it is not Kuwait alone which faces electricity shortage as all other Gulf countries and some countries in other parts of the world have the same problem.
Therefore, all ministries and state agencies have been instructed to adjust consumption and to turn off lights at the end of work, he said.
The army, meanwhile, decided to use only its electricity generators and the education ministry decided to close schools early in a bid to save electricity.
Last September, it signed a 2.7-billion-dollar (2.2 billion euro) deal with US and Korean firms to build a 2,000-megawatt power plant, which is due to come online next summer and be fully operational by mid-2012.

Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmad al-Sabah said in September that Kuwait aims to double its power generation capacity to more than 20,000 megawatts over the next five years.
Last month, parliament passed a law to set up shareholding companies to build new power and water desalination plants in the first privatisation of the sector.
The holy month of Ramadan, which falls in August this year, will be very difficult for the people in Kuwait if temperatures continue to rise, Minister of Electricity and Water Bader Al-Shuraiaan told reporters at the Parliament Tuesday.
“Total electricity consumption in Kuwait over the last few days exceeded previous records. It is expected to increase in the coming days due to the rising temperatures,” Al-Shuraiaan added. He hopes this will not lead to the implementation of the programmed power cut-off.
Al-Shuraiaan stated he saw a glimmer of hope in reports on a possible drop in temperatures next week, wishing this will reduce consumption and avert the crisis. He said he personally requested holding a special parliamentary session to discuss the electricity situation in the country.
On the recent fire incidents in power generators, Al-Shuraiaan explained the ministry has 28,000 generators all over the country, and around 8 to 10 generators may collapse daily. “This is a small percentage considering the total number of generators but the ministry is doing its best to fix the damage as soon as possible,” he affirmed.

“The country is facing a huge challenge this summer because the Al-Subiyah Power Station will be operational only in 2011,” says Al-Shuraiaan who is being pressured by lawmakers to give up his post if he fails to address the problem. He admitted the nation has been grappling with this issue since 1988 and successive governments did not sign any contract to construct new generators. “In 2009, we signed a contract for the implementation of the Al-Subiyah power project, which is a huge achievement for this government and me,” he asserted
Meanwhile, lawmaker Faisal Al-Muslim holds Al-Shuraiaan and the whole government accountable for their failure to take the necessary steps to meet the growing demand for electricity, especially during summer. He went on to say, “The continuous deterioration of the condition of the Ministry of Electricity and Water is a clear manifestation that the government has started to crumble”.
Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Moudhi Al-Humoud has issued a fresh decision Tuesday suspending KG classes and shortening working time at educational facilities.
The ministerial decision applies to children, teachers and administrative staff, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Public Education Mona Allwaghani told KUNA.
The new move is mainly intended to save electricity nationwide and to fend off looming power cutoff, she added.
Educational staff at all directorates will leave work at 1:00 pm instead of 2:00 pm in an effort to ease power load, she noted.

By: Dahlia Kholaif

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