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‘Turn down the AC’ call

Kuwait City, June 20, 2007

Kuwait sent residents mobile telephone text messages asking them to turn down air conditioning units and switch off water boilers to avoid outages as power demand stretched capacity to the limit.

Kuwait is struggling to meet rapidly rising demand for electricity as its economy expands on the back of record oil export revenues.

The world's seventh-largest oil exporter is facing a repeat of last summer's power shortages as residents crank up cooling systems during the summer heat in the desert.

Temperatures touched 43 degrees celsius (109 F), keeping most people indoors.

'Turn off ACs in unused rooms. Turn off water boilers,' the ministry of water and electricity told residents in the text messages. It advised keeping thermostats no lower than 25 degrees (77 F).

Ahmad Al Dousari, general secretary of the ministry's campaign on energy conservation, said power use on Sunday came within 100 megawatts of the maximum capacity of 9,000 megawatts.

'God willing we did not breach the point,' he said.

The ministry's campaign, called guidance, teaches basic conservation measures such as turning off electronic devices when leaving the house. Some residents do not switch off air conditioning units even when travelling abroad.

A call centre with 270 staff had been set up to advise consumers in several languages to use power wisely, while newspapers and broadcasters were also spreading the word to save energy, Dousari said.

Authorities might prosecute energy wasters, he said.

The government said in March it was considering an import terminal for liquefied natural gas and gas imports from Iraq and Iran to help match soaring demand for electricity. Kuwait and other GCC states were also considering nuclear power.

The ministry has invited companies to submit bids for projects to boost power capacity. Reuters




Tags: Kuwait | Air conditioning |

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