Monday, June 19, 2006

Lowering expectations

- Dubai power failures
In the wake of several power cuts throughout Dubai, Dewa officials have urged the public to be wary of overextending their power supplies.

"It is very normal for small scale, contained power cuts to take place when demand is very high, such as in the summer months," said Dewa spokesperson, Abdullah Al Hajri.

Downplaying the incidents as 'isolated', Al Hajri indicated the situation was entirely normal during the summer months.

"Some isolated problems are to be expected during the summer," he told Gulf News, adding that the main cause is people exceeding their allotted power supplies, putting strain on the area substations.
- Water from taps 'is a rare sight'

Sharjah: "You do not see water flowing through the taps anymore," said an Indian expatriate living in the area around the Rolla Square. "It is a rare sight."

Residents in many areas have learned over the past months that they cannot trust Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) to provide them a regular supply of water.
The problem is more acute in buildings rented out to construction workers, where about eight workers share one room.

Shaikh Naina, a worker said they store water in huge 220 litre barrels. "It lasts just one day," he said. In their building, water is released between 4 am and 8.30 am.
Experts have warned that the UAE is one of the water deficient countries in the world and urgently needs to curtail consumption. The emergency number to call is 992.


Blogger Seabee said...

Emirates Today tells us the cause of the outage was a fire at Jebel Ali power station. Gulf News tells us the cause was a problem in a sub-station at Mall of the Emirates. Hmmm...

I was intrigued by the DEWA statement that the main cause of outages is people exceeding their allotted supply. Allotted supply? Is that a language problem or is there really an allotment...

5:06 PM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

Seabee -

Exactly my thoughts. Allotted supply? Just take a look at that from the customer's perspective. How would I know what my allotted supply is or whether I am in danger of exceeding it? Perhaps what is going on is that buildings are not by used as planned - for example, perhaps apartments designed for a family of four are used by bachelor groups of 16. Then the public utility - water and electricity - systems designed to handle typical peak loads assuming families of 4 might would not be able to handle peak loads when the properties are used more intensively. When forecasts of load fall short of actual usage the result in the case of electricity will be breakdowns in the system that knock users off line and may damage system equipment requiring costly and time consuming repairs in the case of electricity. Or rolling blackouts - witness present day Baghdad. Peak water usage results in low water pressure. Water can be rationed by shutting off water - much like rolling blackouts for electricity, except you see in the article how the users anticipate the shutoff and use and store as much water as possible when they do get water.

Usage could also be limited by raising prices. But raising prices as load reaches peak requires a sophisticated system of monitoring of usage and communication to users of price changes hour by hour.

7:19 PM  

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