Huh? It’s not OUR fault!

31 May, '07

Such power and water cuts hamper the process of development, keep the leadership awake and bother the citizens, giving rise to a number of undesirable happenings that the government prefers to avert, the Premier said.

Say again? This just doesn’t make any sense and is probably just the standard copy-paste Google translation by the illustrious BNA of what was said by His Highness.

So let’s reference something related in Arabic just to attempt to find out what’s going on:

حمل وزير الكهرباء والماء الشيخ عبدالله بن سلمان آل خليفة، المواطنين ‘’مسؤولية انقطاع الكهرباء، وذلك بسبب الحمل الزائد على شبكة التوزيع’’، لافتاً إلى أن ‘’90% من أسباب انقطاع الكهرباء، تعود إلى عدم إخطار الوزارة بإضافات كهربائية جديدة يقوم بها الأهالي في منازلهم’’.
وأوضح الوزير في مؤتمر صحافي أمس (الأربعاء) أنه ‘’حسب القانون، يجب أن يأخذ المواطنون إذنا من الوزارة عند أي إضافات كهربائية حتى تأخذ الوزارة إجراءاتها’’، معتبرا أن’’العام الجاري، هو أكثر الأعوام تجاوزا في الإضافات الكهربائية ولو تمت محاسبة المتجاوزين لأصبحت هناك آلاف القضايا بالمحاكم’’.
وأضاف أن ‘’شبكات التوزيع، تتحمل جهدا معينا، حسب الخطة التي وضعها مهندسو التخطيط حيث يتم إنشاء شبكة توزيع لكل 20 بيتا، ولها طاقة استيعابية معينة مع ترك 20% كجانب احتياطي’’.
ولفت الوزير إلى أن’’ الانقطاعات لم تكن موجودة في فترة الشتاء، لأن استخدام الكهرباء يقل عن الصيف’’، مشيرا إلى أن ‘’شهري مايو ويونيو من كل عام، هما الأكثر في حدوث الانقطاعات، حيث يبدأ المواطنون استهلاك الكهرباء، وتكتشف الوزارة أن هناك أحمالا زائدة على شبكات التوزيع’’.
ونفى الوزير، وجود مشكلات في إنتاج الكهرباء وكذلك في شبكات النقل، منوها إلى ‘’وجود مشكلات في التوزيع’’ نفى وزير الكهرباء والماء، تشكيل لجنة تحقيق في انقطاع المياه بالشمالية، منوها إلى ‘’وجود تحقيق حول ما إذا كانت المياه مقطوعة بالكامل أو ضعيفة، وبالفعل وجد أنه ليست هناك مياه مقطوعة في أي منطقة بل كان هناك ضعف في المياه’’.
إلى ذلك، لفت الوزير إلى أن ‘’استهلاك الفرد في البحرين من المياه 4 أضعاف الاستهلاك العالمي، حيث وصل إلى 126 جالونا في اليوم، بينما دول الخليج 100 جالون، والاستهلاك العالمي 40 جالونا فقط’’.
وأضاف ‘’لا توجد مشكلة في انقطاعات المياه، كما صورتها الصحف المحلية حيث كانت محطة الدور والتي تنتج 5مليون جالون في صيانة لمدة أسبوعين، وهذا لا يؤثر على وضع المياه’’، منوها إلى أن ‘’الوزارة تتسلم 7 ملايين جالون من محطة ألبا، فيما يبلغ إنتاج وزارة الكهرباء والماء 110 ملايين يومياً’’.
وأشار إلى أن ‘’محطة الحد تنتج 30 مليون جالون ، قبل أن تتحول إلى شركة خاصة، وتم الاتفاق مع الشركة بتزويدنا 12 مليون جالون من المياه منذ أول إبريل، لكنها لم تلتزم ‘’.
وتابع ‘’تم خفض كميات المياه التي تتسلمها الوزارة من محطة ألبا إلى 3 ملايين جالون أي أن الوزارة فقدت 9 مليون جالون من المياه بسبب صيانة محطة الدور وانخفاض كميات المياه بمعدل كبير من محطة ألبا وتزامن ذلك مع صيانة محطة الدور’’.
وشدد الوزير على أن ‘’الوزارة عالجت الوضع بتشغيل محطة الدور أمس الأول، ووصل إنتاجها إلى 5 ملايين جالون، كما سنحصل على 12 مليونا من محطة الحد خلال أسبوعين وستصل إلى 60 مليونا في نوفمبر المقبل’’.
وأوضح الوزير أن’’ الوزارة ستعمل مع نهاية العام الجاري على ربط شبكات المياه في جميع المحافظات، على أن يتم التعامل مع النقص في أي منطقة بكل سهولة’’، معتبرا أن ذلك ‘’سيساهم في تنظيم نقل المياه ومراعاة النقص في بعض المناطق مع مناطق أخرى’’.

Oh boy. We’re really, but I mean really in for it this summer!

Shall we attempt to analyse what’s actually going on here? But before doing so, let me put in my application to the right honourable minister to seek his approval to add one, just one 60W bulb to my study at home and as a concerned citizen who does not want to overload the perfectly designed electricity generation and distribution grids I promise to only make use of it in non-peak times, ie, from 9pm to 10pm. I don’t want to be that straw that breaks the camel’s back of course, so I’ll just use it on even days in the month too. That should stay within the perfectly designed 20% margin the engineers design into every distribution scheme.

Okay, I’m making a big deal out of nothing. It’s only that in a modern country with multi-billion dollar developments (Bahrain Financial Harbour, Bahrain Bay, Durrat Al-Bahrain, Amwaj, Riffa Views, etc) you would think that power availability would have been the very first consideration on the minds of governments. And it is this that should have kept them awake. Alas, that insomnia doesn’t seem to have produced anything but frayed nerves and shoveling the blame onto others.

Let’s take a page out of Dubai’s book in this regard and see how they are handling this issue, considering that as far as I remember they only had one major brown-out (not black-outs as we have experienced and will continue to experience until the mode of thinking changes.):

Electricity-hungry Dubai is planning to build one of the world’s largest power and desalination complexes, a multibillion dollar plant that would produce nearly as much power as New York City’s total generating capacity.

The new plant would be capable of producing 9,000 megawatts of electricity and 600 million gallons a day of desalinated water, Dow Jones Newswires reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the project.

Dubai’s planned mega-complex will sit next to Dubai World Central, intended to be the world’s largest airport, and the giant Jebel Ali port and free zone _where most of the emirate’s power generation capacity of about 5,000 megawatts is presently located.

homework by candlelight by Michele

Back to the present, we find the Minister of Electricity is somewhat abashed in the last few months with no real plan to come out of the magic (kerosene-powered) lantern; someone asserts that there is rampant corruption in his ministry and instead of looking at the fire and puts it out, he blows away the smoke by taking the accuser, an elected member of a municipal board, to court for defamation. Now we find that rather than admitting to shortages in his ministry and its main products, he is putting the full blame on power black-outs squarely on the shoulders of citizens for “not notifying the ministry of additional electrical services installed in their homes” which is the major cause – quoting the figure 90% – of electricity black-outs. He declared further that these transgressions on the law are at their maximum this year.

The minister also made a very important observation which we should stand at and consider, as within it the truth most definitely lies; he said, and I translate:

The minister noted that “black-outs did not occur during the Winter period because electricity usage is lower than in the Summer period,” further explaining that “most black-outs occur during the months of May and June of every year as citizens start using (more) electricity, and the ministry discovers that there is an increased load on the distribution network.”

No kidding! Really? I would never have guessed really. But I am to blame of course as I am from the privileged few who up sticks and leaves this furnace every summer to climes more amenable to my constitution. The summers I know are those of Cannes and St Tropez and Monaco and Marbella and if I really really want to go local there is always Gloucester road in London!

Okay, fair warning your excellency. You have absolved your ministry from responsibility, we won’t hold your ministry from any forthcoming black- brown- or any colour-power-cuts happening this summer, or during any time of the year. It’s not your nor is it your ministry’s fault.

Water! Water! Yes, water. Some of those people have been complaining that they didn’t have water in their homes for days, whole districts, neighbourhoods, towns and villages have complained of the same, but the stupid sods don’t know the difference of the water being cut and not having any pressure. Pfah! Those beoble. They should have at least bothered to call the emergency response line (no S) at the ministry to be educated on the difference, so once again, I would like to thank the right honourable minister for taking the time to explain things as they are to us, and once again you will forgive me for translating his missive:

The minister refuted the formation of an investigative committee by the Northern Municipal Council into water cuts (in the Northern District) stating that “the investigation around whether water was completely cut or was delivered with low pressure. In fact, it was found that there were no water cuts at all in any location, but the pressure was low.”

We’d better go dig up all the “supposed” dead and check their pulse again. The stupid-ass doctors didn’t understand that in fact their patients actually were not dead at all, their hearts did not actually stop working, but just had low pressure!

God have mercy.

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Comments (21)

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  1. Johnster says:

    One of the biggest issues is that most houses seem to be uninsulated and there is no attempt to enacty and enforce legislation to make insulation mandatory.

    If this was done (even if just on the new build) coupled with an increase in electricity prices (which could be used to insulate homes of low income families), the power saving would be phenomenal.

  2. Romster says:

    Small portable generators are available at local stores for about BD 120. Looks like it will be a long hot aiconditionless summer.Does anyone remember the black Monday 3 years ago?. The pool at the Meridien was boiling (and had yellowish color).
    Florida here I come

  3. Ayman says:

    Electricity and Water problems remind me of Sim City. The Godfather of all simulation games. Having adequate electricity and water, and with proper distributions was vital to the survival and growth of my city.
    It seems that some of the “big guys” up there need to go playing that game to learn planning from it. I don’t look at Sim City as a game at all.
    But I only fear that instead of learning how to plan and make their people happy, and making their city grow, all what they will do is just send aliens and riots to destroy the city!

  4. Salman says:

    I think i am going to cancel my flight back to Bahrain and just remain here for the summer.

    It puzzles me how such a small country, with so much money cannot afford to provide us a “power cut” free summer.

    Does Riffa also get affected by the power cuts? Or is it just the rest of Bahrain who are eligible to it?

  5. Salman says:

    By the way, i just want to correct the PM about his idea of banning high voltage electrical equipment. He should be banning high wattage equipment, because the amount of watts determine the amount of Amps that the device would consume. Voltage is merely a measure of potential difference in electricity.

    Voltage is pressure in a water hose, and Amperes is the amount of water that can flow out of the end of the hose.

    I am sure a man with enough know how to run a government would know some basic electrics, or at least would have been briefed by someone to at least speak out correct information.

    Why doesn’t he and his family also contribute to saving power in Bahrain and all live in one small house instead of every one living in a palace by himself and consuming so much wattage?

    But then again, he has his own power station. He has nothing to worry about.

    Just one more thing, they are going to build up all those big buildings, and wont be able to supply sufficient energy to run them? Some development this country is getting to.

  6. Thanks for reminding me to shut off my printer. Every time we have a brown-out here in Cairo and the power comes back on, the printer spits out another test sheet, which goes flying through the air. Oh, and it’s not nearly as hot here as it is in Bahrain – probably about 20 degrees (F) lower. Aahh, I can’t wait until it gets really hot. Btw, just like to say, in just about every city I’ve lived in overseas (3) and in the USA (7), we’ve had brown-outs or total black-outs (once for 3 days – that would be Cleveland, Ohio.)

  7. ASKAD says:

    If this is the situation, why they don’t install solar panels all over bahrain, we have the sun covering bahrain all year.

    Just an idea. :mrgreen:

  8. Bahrainiac says:

    Johnster – insulation is available but not used as it is “expensive” compared with the relative cheap cost of electricity. I work with guys who have been trying to sell home and industrial insulating materials for years, only to be told by the customer that the ROI is not there as compared to cheap electricity. It’s a losing battle that, until regulation and enforcement, will never be won, let alone addressed. 💡

  9. mahmood says:

    Ah, the government (and parliament) need to read Thomas Freedman’s article at the New York Times discussing “Green Power“, fascinating read (you might need to register to view the article) which ran in the Sunday Times on 15 April 2007; especially this:

    The market alone won’t work. Government’s job is to set high standards, let the market reach them and then raise the standards more. That’s how you get scale innovation at the China price. Government can do this by imposing steadily rising efficiency standards for buildings and appliances and by stipulating that utilities generate a certain amount of electricity from renewables — like wind or solar. Or it can impose steadily rising mileage standards for cars or a steadily tightening cap-and-trade system for the amount of CO2 any factory or power plant can emit. Or it can offer loan guarantees and fast-track licensing for anyone who wants to build a nuclear plant. Or — my preference and the simplest option — it can impose a carbon tax that will stimulate the market to move away from fuels that emit high levels of CO2 and invest in those that don’t. Ideally, it will do all of these things. But whichever options we choose, they will only work if they are transparent, simple and long-term — with zero fudging allowed and with regulatory oversight and stiff financial penalties for violators.

  10. speak says:

    Why and the hell dont they have solar Or wind generated power here, are they that frigin stupid for the price of one of these shit as man made islands they could do allot, backward ass bunch of porch monkies!!!

  11. F says:

    1) Gov’t should have an energy savings program implemented.

    2) Heavy energy consuming areas should have energy-saving
    bulbs replacement program.

    3) Law needs to be in place to promote solar power usage for
    home. A 5 year plan should be enough time for the country to
    have solar power units to be in each home.

    4) Develop incentives to have solar industry based in Bahrain.

    5) Better home insulations materials should also be promoted.
    ROI for these are not seen in the same light. Majority people look
    at short term savings. If you put the law in place, people will then accept it and have better insulated homes.

    6) The country looks at its leaders and emulates them. If the leaders do good, they (the people) will do good. So, if the leaders have energy savings lights in their homes and offices, people will then switch over.

    7) There was news of Bahrain linking to the Saudi/Qatar/Kuwait
    Electricity grid. I wonder if the initiative is at work or at a standstill.

  12. Johnster says:

    Salman

    You are spot on!!!!

    My advice to the powers-that-be….

    “LEAD FROM THE TOP”

  13. Salman says:

    1) Gov’t should have an energy savings program implemented.

    2) Heavy energy consuming areas should have energy-saving
    bulbs replacement program.

    3) Law needs to be in place to promote solar power usage for
    home. A 5 year plan should be enough time for the country to
    have solar power units to be in each home.

    4) Develop incentives to have solar industry based in Bahrain.

    5) Better home insulations materials should also be promoted.
    ROI for these are not seen in the same light. Majority people look
    at short term savings. If you put the law in place, people will then accept it and have better insulat ed homes.

    6) The country looks at its leaders and emulates them. If the leaders do good, they (the people) will do good. So, if the leaders have energy savings lights in their homes and offices, people will then switch over.

    7) There was news of Bahrain linking to the Saudi/Qatar/Kuwait
    Electricity grid. I wonder if the initiative is at work or at a standstill.

    1, The government itself should begin with saving energy, to set a good exmple.

    2. Why does the government not install energy saving bulbs throughout its ministries and departments first? If you don’t think of it, the government itself is the biggest energy consumer.

    3. This is the most hilarious one. How cheap do you think solar power generators cost? Do your research, then compare that to the average shit pay of a Bahraini, then come back and think about this point.

    4. They should have started using solar power a long time ago. We have sunshine almost 100% of they year, yet they never ever use it.

    5. Home insulation is not cheap to begin with. And what about people who have already built their homes without it? Are they expected to demolish their homes and rebuild them all over again, just to satisfy the government? Or would they rather pay more in their electric bill because the house gets hotter due to weaker insulation? How many can afford to actually rebuild their homes? People are struggling to actually build a house, and you are speaking of insulating it? Unless the government will fund the rebuilding of walls and insulating all over again?

    6. Good point. A waste of energy the lights that remain on at night outside the palaces.

    7. Maybe just a summer back up plan they have thought of.

  14. Leila says:

    Try a solar oven, can be made from cardboard boxes, tin foil, and plastic oven bags (or plastic sheet or glass).

    Yes, solar power arrays cost money. But power cuts cost money, too. It’s called a capital investment when you put in equipment. The idea is, investing in equipmetn and infrastructure gives you an economic return. if the power cuts are costing business and consumers, then there are probably some hard economic statistics that could be analyzed. A decent economist or analyst could run numbers on the cost/benefit of a solar array at a home or business, factoring in shortages and cuts from the utility company.

    Meanwhile, conservation is another avenue to a solution. Insulate houses. Put up awnings over windows. Change building codes to reflect local conditions, in order to adapt buildings to climate. Turn off lights and computers when not in use. Etc.

    And maybe folks don’t have to refrigerate their homes down to 20 degrees Celsius?

    Just saying…

  15. exclamation mark says:

    To solve the problem you’ll need common sense, there are continouos and on going real eastate projects going on in Bahrain, from building houses, buildings and flats, to large projects like Amwaj and the new city centre …

    Does’nt that need more supply of electricity, becuase of the growing demand of it ?

    But the question is : Who has the brains to think with common sense in this ministry ?

  16. Salman says:

    exclamation mark,

    They are probably trying to sort out who will bag in the big deal for building the new power stations and installing them.

    Or they were going to, and the budget went missing as it always does.

  17. mahmood says:

    Salman, calm down.

    You’re slowly going over the top which is not going to help your arguments. Step back please. It’s not as dark as you imply but let us all recognise that the times are dire and need our concerted and honest efforts to reclaim what has been lost and straighten what has gone awry. Passion by itself, although commendable, should be the farthest thing to be employed to fix this kind of situation.

    Why does the government not install energy saving bulbs throughout its ministries and departments first? If you don’t think of it, the government itself is the biggest energy consumer.

    That’s a good suggestion. Mine is to penalise any ministry or government office that employs a huge amount of electricity through their annual lighting ceremonies on Dec 16th. Although celebrating such a national occasion should continue, but I suggest we find other avenues to do so other than wasting – completely wasting – electricity.

  18. Dibujante says:

    keeping all flaws and problems aside. the biggest in my view is the strange mentality of some people, which if been advised to be more aware in their electricity usage, they reply …. ana elly badfa3 elbeel….”i’ll pay the bill”… damn … 👿 it just kills me …. so many people in Bahrain need courses in thinking rationally….. i wish common sense comes in capsules .. 😡

  19. Just me says:

    Of course it is our fault. It’s our fault that we switch the light on in our village, although one sheikh’s palace is bigger than 30,000 housing units in the village next door. It’s our fault we can only afford a noisy old ugly AC rather than a more efficient centralised air-conditioning unit. It’s our fault that temperature reaches 50 degrees in the summer, it’s our fault that not only do we live under the poverty line but we are also to blame for shutting down the power system, it’s our fault that there is an international standard of living standards on the availability of water and electiricity to every citizen. It’s all our fault.

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