Sunday, May 3, 2009

Power outages plague the Sudanese capital

April 29, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese capital Khartoum has been plagued with extended period of power outages triggering anger amongst residents.

The Sudanese national assembly subpoenaed the energy minister Al-Zebeir Ahmed Al-Hassan to question him on reasons behind the outages despite inauguration of the Merowe dam project, which was planned to double the country’s electricity output.

Al-Hassan addressing members of the legislative body denied any technical; issues with the dam or disagreement between the electricity project and the dam administration.

The minister said that demand for electricity surged by 23% and that capacity of the Ruseieris dam by 30%. He added the generated electricity from Merowe dam has been unstable.

Sudan needs 1100 Megawatt of electricity while quantity available is 800.

Some legislators described the minister’s answers as “unconvincing” and threatened to escalate the matter to the president.

Khartoum residents have been particularly frustrated as the outages are coupled with rising temperatures during the day as high as 47 ℃ (116 °F).

Al-Hassan said that two turbines generating electricity from Merowe dam have been below required performance but expected them to stabilize by May 15th. However, he called on Sudanese people “to be patient” while electrical service is upgraded.

The production of factories in Khartoum has been impacted by the outages and work shifts had to be reduced in some.

On another front water services in Khartoum have been degraded with many areas missing water for weeks. No reason has been provided for that.