Sunday, February 15, 2015

Blackout in Kuwait

Photo:  Arab Times
 Blackout Hits Kuwait
Main Grid Glitch
Arab Times
 KUWAIT CITY, Feb 11: Most areas in the country experienced sudden power disruption at 7:30 pm on Wednesday because of a technical breakdown in Al-Subiya Power Station and this had a negative impact on Doha Power Station, reports Al-Seyassah daily.
This necessitated isolating some networks as a precautionary measure due to the increased pressure on other stations. However, officials from Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) announced one hour after the blackout that electricity was restored gradually in some areas and it will be back completely in a few hours.
The affected areas include Hawally, Jahra, Jabriya, Salmiya, Al-Rai, Al- Rumaithiya, Qurtuba, Al- Nuzha, South Surra, Adiliya, Mangaf, Jaber Al-Ali, Khaitan, Dasma, Haiteen, Fahaheel, Sabahiya, Al-Shuaiba and Al- Ahmadi.
This is in addition to huge and vital establishments like Kuwait International Airport, Avenues Mall, (DG Note:  I love what is "vital" to Kuwait!) Sabah Health District, hospitals and other areas. It also halted traffic movement completely for several hours amidst angry outbursts among netizens on various social networking websites.
An unprecedented security mobilization to organize traffic flow due to the breakdown of traffic lights and to protect some major utilities in the country followed as the teams from Civil Defense and Kuwait Fire Service Directorate (KFSD), along with the Operations Rooms of the Interior Ministry and Medical Emergency Department which received hundreds of reports about accidents and people stuck inside elevators.
Accordingly, MEW officials and their counterparts in the Interior Ministry appealed to citizens and residents to stay at home or in places where they are and refrain from going out to the streets until the electricity is restored. Sources from MEW clarified that Al- Subiya Power Station, which produces 5,000 megawatts, was out of service due to the breakdown; indicating that 2,000 megawatts was later restored gradually.
In the same context, Minister of Electricity and Water Abdulaziz Al- Ibrahim and State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammed Al-Abdullah confirmed in subsequent press statements that electricity was restored gradually in different areas, stressing that the blackout was due to a technical breakdown.
Furthermore, Minister of Health Ali Al-Obaidi announced during an inspection tour in hospitals that all of them were working normally by using generators. Also, the Interior Ministry refuted rumors that a destructive activity is behind the blackout and there is no truth in the alleged theft in a bank in Al- Qurain.
Actually, I'm kinda impressed by how fast public services reacted to the blackout.  Within minutes of the blackout (in my area, Rumaithiya - which just so happens to be right down the road from Dar Salwa, residence to His Highness The Emir - police vehicles were in the area and helicopters were flying overhead.  
I could hear my normally-calm upstairs neighbors (the Dutch are such a together, placid, group of people) in the hallway inquiring about the problem...
Then of course the neighbors with the house next door (who must have a backup generator) started gathering loudly (with all their lights on), and kids started throwing things off the roof; leading responsible citizens in the neighborhood to shout at them.  (Ok so your lights are on.  La dee da.  We get it.)  The horny cats in the neighborhood thought it was a free-for-all and many a stray kitten must have been conceived last night for all the noise that was going on (come to think of it, maybe that was the neighbors, not the cats....)
The only way I could have known what was happening (with the electricity, that is) was one of the major forms of communication:  Tell-a-Kuwaiti.  I thought I could score some pity/free food, so I sent a friend a message saying, "Dude, my power just went out in the middle of cooking diner.  Could you drop by with a shawarma on your way home?"  Alas, I was foiled by a nation-wide blackout and they were in the same situation.
So, I lit candles (my house is like a Catholic church), played laser-pointer-tag with my big dog, and finally decided to go to sleep.  Early!  I was just drifting off when BAM!  My TV blares back on and there are bright lights in my face.  That was a fast blackout...  About 2 hours in total.
I'm really glad I wasn't out on the road because road rage in Kuwait under normal circumstances is awful, but I heard that last night was like Hell night.  
[Sidebar:  Why is Kuwait like Egypt all of a sudden?  When did it become "ok" to blast your horn at other people?  This is not native to the culture of Kuwait!  A short time back, if someone honked at a Kuwaiti, it would be cause for a fight.  Now, it is the Kuwaitis doing the honking.  Like as soon as the light turns green.  When did it become socially acceptable behavior here?]
Back to our story
I started thinking about how really blessed we are.  We rarely have power failures of any kind (in Kuwait, in my neighborhood, in my house) and a blackout is unheard of (I thought it was those ISIS mofos...)  In contrast, my sister's million-dollar-home neighborhood in the States is hit by power outages all the time (especially during the winters or flood times).  She finally had enough one bad winter and bought a back-up generator that is so smooth, you can't even tell if the power has gone out (no flicker, no noise, just redundancy).  
I also started thinking how easy it would be for terrorists to shut down the country.  I thought it might have been sabotage last night. Think about it:  Everybody and their grandmother uses a "smart" phone these days.  Many people (like me) don't have land line phones.  Scary.  

I didn't know how long the blackout would last, so I remembered to do what my mother always does:  Fill up every kind of container with water.  I was thinking that if I needed to re-charge my phone or my computer I could do that in my car.  Glad it didn't last that long.
What must it have been like here in 1990?  Dayum.

1 comment:

UnSuperMom said...

I thought it was ISIS too at first lol! I remember back in 2003 NYC had a major power outage that lasted a couple of days. I was surprised at how quick they got the electricity up and running in Kuwait.

I was reading an article on Huff Post and I thought out you. Its about an American girl who was born at home, home schooled, never went to the doctors and when she turned 19 she left home to realize that she did not exist in the system, not very similar to the bedoon but apparently there are many cases in the states where the parents have destroyed birth certificates or SSNs and left their adult children to try to figure out what to do with themselves.

Sorry for the long comment!