Sharjah residents’ (forced) day out

Another major electricity outage powers people into shopping malls and restaurants

Tuesday was a day of shopping, meeting friends and relatives, eating out and even buying generators for the residents of Sharjah. However, they were forced to do so thanks to another major power outage.

The city was hit by a power cut that lasted about 13 hours, pushing families and bachelors to spend the whole day outside their homes and seek respite in air-conditioned places.

Ghussoun Abdullah, a resident of Al Wahda Street, told Emirates Business she woke up at about 2am when her bedroom turned hot after the electricity supply was disrupted.

“My husband and three children could not sleep the whole night and felt relieved at 6am when power was restored. However, the respite did not last long as the outage resumed at about 10am,” she said adding, “I took the children to the City Centre which was jam-packed with people, including my colleagues.”

Ghussoun’s husband joined them in the afternoon after returning from his office in Dubai. However, the family could not stay too long as the shopping centre also turned hot due to the huge number of people having lunch in the food court or just walking around, she added.

So after lunch in a restaurant, the family went to the Islamic Souq and did a lot of shopping. They also continued to call their building’s watchman to check if the electricity supply has been restored. But this happened only at 7.15pm.

“We arrived home unable to take another step. We were so exhausted,” said Ghussoun.

The repeated power outages in Sharjah this summer and last year have made people anxious, especially with the month of fasting round the corner.

Marwa Mohammed, a teacher who lives on Jamal Abdul Nasser Street, said the family is considering going on vacation during the holy month of Ramadan that will start in August, the hottest month of the year.

“Although we cannot afford a vacation this summer, we are considering the option as more power outages may occur during Ramadan. We will not be able to endure sweating or roaming around looking for an air-conditioned place while fasting,” she said.

“This is unacceptable… the electricity was cut off at 10am and until 9pm it has not yet been reconnected. I will travel at any cost to enjoy Ramadan in Jordan. Even if I do not have money to enjoy my vacation, it is enough to avoid the heat and humidity.”

Sharjah is keen on increasing sales to help economic recovery by organising shopping weeks. But residents have another theory on the matter.

“It seems the plan is to force people into shopping centres and tempt them to buy,” said Ramzi Zaki cynically.

“I believe sales at the City Centre have increased by more than 50 per cent compared to normal days. Hundreds of people were in Carrefour and most of them were shopping. Bad circumstances for many turned out to be an opportunity for shoppers,” he said.

Abdullah, a salesman at Tabook grocery in the Industrial area, said he had expected a power outage on Tuesday as the day before his shop was not affected by the electricity cut-off.

So he decided to buy a generator keeping in view the nightmarish power situation of last year.

“The moment the outage occurred, I rushed to buy a generator. I cannot afford a new one so I bought a small secondhand generator for Dh800,” he said.

Ironically, Abdullah’s plan did not work because he could not buy diesel from petrol stations as they were also hit by the power outage.

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