Scheduled power cuts in Malé are likely to continue till May 8 as the State Electric Company Ltd (STELCO) struggles to meet increased demand for electricity during the hottest month of the year.
Speaking to Minivan News, STELCO spokesperson Ibrahim Rauf said the company is only able to generate 35 megawatts of electricity per day at present, and faces a shortage of 2.5 megawatts.
The shortage is due to a delay in completing the fourth power project which will add two generators, each capable of producing eight megawatts of electricity, to the company’s functioning 17 generators.
The fourth power project was scheduled to be completed by December 2011, but will now be completed in May and generators will be running by May 8, Rauf said.
Hospitals and government offices will not face power outages, he added.
Meanwhile, Environment Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz has ordered all government offices to keep air conditioning at 25 degrees centigrade in order to reduce overloading STELCO, local media reported. The move could save one megawatt of electricity, an amount that can serve 300 households per day.
“We have to cut electricity because there’s just no other option,” Rauf told Minivan News. Malé has faced almost daily power outages throughout April.
Power interruptions would only last for an hour he said, adding that households can check when their buildings were likely to face outages on STELCO’s website.
“If households and businesses spread out use of electricity, for example, by doing ironing or operating heavy machinery at night or during weekends instead of during peak hours, the demand for electricity will decrease. Then we can reduce the frequency of power outages,” Rauf said.
He identified peak hours to be from 10:00am to 12:00pm, and from 1:30pm to 2:30 pm. Only Malé has been affected. The city’s suburbs Villingili and Hulhumalé and industrial island of Thilafushi will not be affected, Rauf said.
Lack of rain and increased temperatures in April also bring severe water crises annually to many islands in the Maldives. Maldives National Defense Forces (MNDF) have previously said over 60 islands have reported water shortages. MNDF is now providing desalinated water to these islands.
Telecomm provider Dhiraagu’s internet services were also interrupted this weekend due to damage sustained to an underwater submarine cable.
STELCO is a state company which provides electricity to 50 percent of the population. The company owns 23 powerhouses in 23 islands.