By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli/Gharyan, 6 May 2015:
In what . . .[restrict]looks increasingly like a reprise of the situation in the capital towards the end of the Qaddafi regime, power cuts are getting worse in Tripoli. They are now up to a continuous 12 hours a day, with the whole city affected.
Last night, driving through the capital, it was completely dark. The only lights were in places with private generators. The big exception to the darkness was the Corithia hotel. With its own generators, it was lit up. But the area around, in the Old City and near the Bourguiba Mosque and Shara Rashid, there was blackout.
According to electricity officials in Tripoli, the problem is not at the power stations. They are operating normally, they say. It is the network system. High tension lines and substations to the west of Tripoli have been damaged in fighting and it has been too dangerous for technicians to carry out repairs.
Without electricity, much of the rest of modern life is also affected. Pumps at petrol stations do not work, so they close, although many now have their own generators. There have been water cuts too, again because pumps are not working. The coffee houses, shop and restaurants find it difficult to operate. Mobile phones stop working because the local relay masts have no power. The internet goes down as well.
The problem is not just in the capital. Much of the west is suffering. In Gharyan, the local manger of GECOL, the state electricity company, Naji Al-Boraoa, today said that because of the clashes, it was extremely difficult to carry out repairs to damaged overhead cables and other facilities. At the same time, plans to increase the electricity supply by expanding power stations or building new ones was on hold fr the same reasons, he said. The onset of summer, with increased use of air-conditioning was making the situation worse. Moreover, nobody, he said, was trying to limit their electrical consumption.
In fact, however, more power has been going into the national grid this week.
The massive Sirte Gulf Power Station first turbine is again adding power to the national grid after shutting down for a week for maintenance.
“The repairs at the Sirte power plant are finally completed” the plant’s manager, Abubakr Al-Makhiun, told the Libya Herald yesterday. They would have been completed earlier, he said, but for the insecurity in the town, now largely under Islamic State control.
When complete, Sirte Gulf power station will have four turbines, each with a capacity of 350 MW. At the moment only one is installed and operating. Producing around 180 MW, it is powered by gas which is currently being shipped into Sirte port. That could be at risk.
With input from Jamal Adel in Beida