Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Kuwait cuts working hours to save power

Public sector employees, who usually finish the working day between 1pm and 2pm, will begin at 7am and finish at 12pm.

KUWAIT CITY // Parliament approved a recommendation by several members of the House yesterday to cut the working day for public sector employees during the summer in order to conserve energy, as Kuwait faces major electricity shortages. Employees, who usually finish the working day between 1pm and 2pm, will begin at 7am and finish at 12pm.

"The power crisis is a national crisis," Bader al Shuraian, the minister of electricity and water, told the National Assembly during the session. "Citizens need to understand all aspects of the problem, realise their part, and take part in the solutions." The minister laid out his strategy to cope with the record-high levels of power demand that caused electricity substations to burst into flames during a heat wave last week.

New units at the Subiya power plant would produce an additional 1,320 megawatts of power by the summer of 2011 and 680MW more by 2012, Mr al Shuraian said. "We have tried to accelerate the setting up of another plant, Al Zour ? this plant will add another 4,800MW to the power output." Last week, temperatures of up to 54 degrees Celsius pushed the country's power stations to within one per cent of their production capacity of around 11,000MW. The new power units will relieve Kuwait from the "ghost of 99 per cent", the minister said.

Kuwait's power capacity is currently around 11,200MW, just 2.5 per cent more than the country's load during periods of peak demand last week. Most countries operate with a spare capacity of around 15 per cent. Mr al Shuraian said meters will be installed in residential areas and electricity will be cut off if homeowners are negligent in paying their bills. Parliamentarians accused the ministry of electricity and water of "rampant" corruption during the session, especially in relation to its tendering of contracts. The parliament recommends an investigation committee be established to look for violations within the ministry.

Rola Dashti, an MP, criticised the minister for focusing on long term solutions to the country's energy crisis. She said: "We did not hear him say how he will solve the problem of 2010." Ali Hajiah, an associate research scientist at Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, questioned whether parliament's plan to reduce energy consumption by reducing the public sector's working hours will work. "This measure will help reduce demand on the government sector, but on the other hand it will increase the demand on the residential sector," Mr Hajiah said.

Since the residential sector accounts for up to 60 per cent of the country's total load, compared to around 7 per cent for the government sector, "it might worsen the condition," he said. Mr Hajiah said a real solution to the country's energy crisis involves setting up companies to conduct energy auditing of old and new buildings, which could reduce the country's energy consumption by 30 per cent.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National