Dr Abdulhussain Mirza
Bahrain readies to tackle power woes
Manama, May 15, 2014
A government call centre in Bahrain will almost triple its workforce in the next two weeks to handle an expected surge of complaints about power cuts, a senior government official said.
Minister of State for Electricity and Water Affairs Dr Abdulhussain Mirza yesterday (May 14) said teams would also be on standby to drastically reduce the average time of summer blackouts from eight hours to a maximum of two hours, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
He was speaking during an unscheduled visit to the Electricity and Water Authority's (EWA) call centre yesterday to inspect preparations ahead of summer.
"We respond to more than 90 per cent of the power cut complaints within 20 seconds and if a call is missed for unfortunate reasons of huge pressure, then the computer shows it to us and we immediately call back," he told the GDN.
"The number of employees in the call centre will be nearly tripled to 60 starting June 1 as electricity consumption increases over the next few months due to gatherings during the football world cup, Ramadan and Eid.
"In the past, we have resolved matters within eight to 10 hours. Last year, we were beyond that, so we have made it a target this year that the maximum time to solve power cuts would be two hours.
"There are no promises that power cuts won't happen because there is no country or official in the world that can guarantee that due to numerous reasons - in our region its mainly high temperatures."
He said the EWA has more than 300 generators which will be used in areas affected by power cuts.
"Those generators will be powered on as we work on blackouts in an area until the problem is resolved so that people would suffer minimum disruption and be able to continue their normal lives with ease," he said.
"We started with less than 100 generators a few years ago. The number gradually rose to 125, and this year we purchased 160."
Dr Mirza said existing networks were being updated under a scheme, which started earlier this year. "We are replacing old cables, introducing new cooling technologies and even checking on networks for damages using new sonar-powered vehicles that we have purchased rather than the conventional method of digging," he explained.
"The EWA is on top of matters and is prepared for the summer. Let's hope that we don't face a strong heat wave.
"Even with that we are ready because we develop and progress, and what was acceptable to us last year is not this year as standards become higher."
EWA chief executive officer Shaikh Nawaf bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa also visited the Southern Municipal Council yesterday as part of planned visits to all of Bahrain's five councils to brief them on new projects and preparations for the blazing summer months. – TradeArabia News Service