Kuwait lawmakers seek to slash official work timing by two hours to save electricity

June 20, 2010

Kuwaiti lawmakers on Sunday said that the government should shorten summer working days by two hours in a bid to save electricity and avoid an ominous crisis that would affect thousands of homes.

The MPs who held an extraordinary session to debate the looming power crisis said that government offices and establishments should open half an hour earlier, at 7 am, but close at noon, two hours and a half before the current timing.

Angry lawmakers also called in a series of recommendations for the formation of an investigation committee.

“It is about time we started holding those who have been causing electricity crises accountable for their abuses,” MP Khalid Sultan said. “We need to have a parliamentarian committee to investigate what has been going on,” he said during the heated debate.

For MP Jamaan Al Harbash, the “electricity abuses” should be referred to the auditing court. “If there is proof that the minister is guilty, then he should get ready to be grilled,” he said.

However, MP Salem Al Namlan said that the electricity issue has plagued the country before the current electricity minister was born.

“We have to be cautious because there are people looking for trouble. The minister should not be made into a scapegoat,” he said. “He has often warned about the problems suffered by his ministry and he and his people are doing their best to address the problems that have been piling up for years,” he said.  

Kuwait last week was on the border of massive power cuts following a sharp rise in electricity consumption caused by unusually hot days during which temperatures soared to record highs of above 50 degrees Celsius.

Bader Al Sharaan, the electricity and water minister, warned against turning the power crisis issue into a political issue.

“This is a decade-long crisis and we are all concerned about the situation. Regretfully, it has been made into a political issue,” he told the lawmakers. “We are working on three fronts: improving production and building new stations, improving the decaying infrastructure and reinforcing the culture of wise consumption,” he said.

The new substations will withstand temperatures of up to 55 degrees Celsius, he said.

More than three million Kuwait-based people are benefiting from highly subsidised electricity rates.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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