Sharjah residents and business people are apprehensive that yesterday's power outage is a sign of things to come over the next few months.
Large areas of the emirate, including Al Majaz, Al Khan and several industrial areas, were left in darkness through the day. While students complained about being unable to study for their exams, housewives sought relief from the heat at shopping centres such as Ansar Mall and Sharjah City Centre.
"We expected load shedding in Sharjah this year as there were rumours of shortage of power in the emirate. But we thought we would be informed before hand," said Saima Siddiqua, a resident of the Abu Shagara area. "We hope that it won't happen at night and we will be able to sleep peacefully."
School teacher Ghussoun Abdullah, an Arab national, told Emirates Business that electricity supply to her Al Wahda Street apartment came and went all day: "When I left for work at 6.30am, we had electricity. At around 10am, my daughter phoned me to say she had woken up sweating and that there was no power. It was reconnected around noon. But by the time I got home at about 1.30pm, electricity had gone off again. Now my children are unable to study for their exams tomorrow as they can't endure the heat. I hope this situation does not continue over the summer."
Last summer, electricity to different areas of the emirate was sporadic, with some parts without power for weeks at a time. Electricity officials told this paper at that time that power cables were unable to handle the load of recent new developments in the emirate following the economic expansion of the past few years.
Earlier this month, Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) said that power cuts were the result of a breakdown in the network and warned of further disruption while repairs were carried out. By evening, power had been restored to most areas yesterday. "Thank God, this power cut was only for couple of hours. Had it been longer it would have affected our business as small groceries like ours don't keep back up for load shedding," said Siraj Palakki of Shams Abu Shagara grocery.
P M Raveendranath, a resident of Buheira Corniche, said the electricity went off at 1.30pm and returned only by 5pm. "I live on the 15th floor and had to walk up the emergency stairs all the way," he said. "The worst part was the response of the enquiry department. They just said it will be back in an hour. My fear is that the problem could recur during the coming weeks and being summer it is going to be really difficult."
Muna Fawaz, of Al Diyafah Restaurant in the Al Khan area, said business was badly hit: "The power went off at 5pm and we've been told it would be back in an hour. We have stopped sending out orders. We cater for hotels and usually send out about 230kg of meat to hotels. Unless the power returns soon, I will have to cancel all the orders for today."
A garage owner from Industrial Area 1, who gave his name as Shahid, said his business would be hit by additional generator and fuel costs. "We accepted the increase in costs last year, but we thought the problem over. Now it seems the problem will affect business this summer, too."
One resident was more vocal. "This is going to force us to leave Sharjah," said Indian national Manoj Kumar, 40.
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