domingo, 9 de enero de 2011

It's electrifying!!!

I remember back in the 80s when I lived in Mexico City, power would sometimes be out for a couple of hours when there were bad thunderstorms. I have actually great memories of those days when at home we would take the candles out, and play cards with my Grandma and Mum until the power came back. Nowadays this is fairly uncommon though.

In Lebanon, however, power cuts are an everyday occurrence. And they are actually quite organized. Each day, power is out for 3 hours, scheduled ahead of time, and the time of the cut varies everyday. As a matter of fact, I have a neat excel spreadsheet on my fridge that tells me everyday from when to when I can't count on having electricity at home. And for those 3 hours, when the power is out, people buy the services of a generator that kicks in as the power goes out and lasts for the time when there's no electricity.

The problem is that when the generator is on, you can't operate as if you had electricity at full capacity. You have to be careful not to blow a fuse by, for instance, drying your hair while having the AC on, or having the TV, the toaster and the iron on at the same time. And you have electricity in you apartment, but when you live in the 6th floor and the elevator is out, you really don't want to get to your place with bags full of groceries...

We have a friend who is a professional who depends on electricity for a living, so he has a generator for his generator in case the first one goes out!

But not everything is lost... With some Lebanese creativity, like in this photo, it is possible to get electricity from somewhere else...

Can you imagine being an electrician and trying to figure this one out?

What I have heard is that in Beirut you loose 3 hours of electricity but in other places in Lebanon the power goes out for much longer periods of time.
So from time to time, we hear on the news that groups of people burn tires on the roads to protest the lack of electrical power in their villages.

At a party last night someone was talking about a 4 year plan that Lebanese Cabinet approved last year to boost the electric capacity of the country, and to supply a more sustainable service. However, the different groups in government haven't agreed on the plan's implementation, so it is likely to be delayed...

Playing cards at candlelight can be fun when you are a kid... But having no electricty everyday can really be a nuisance at best and a business hinderance at worst. Let's really hope that this plan gets implemented, for the benefit of everyone in Lebanon.

1 comentario:

  1. I feel your pain sister. Fortunately, our new aparment has "24/7" electricty, which basically means they have a generator which can meet the full capacity of the building's electricty grid. I suppose it also helps that several of the apartments are currently vacant. In any case, it makes a HUGE difference not to have to worry about flipping the breakers. Last year, we had a much smaller generator, and once the breaker flipped, you were out of luck until the next day. Oh, so fun that was.