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Truth serum: Petrol paranoia amid lack of information

Truth serum: Petrol paranoia amid lack of information

The petrol crisis is creating a ripple effect that has now led to some worrying about whether electricity shutdowns are imminent. The dangers of speculations are just as evident as the lack of transparency, says Precious de Leon.

June 14, 2011 4:09 by

If knowledge is power, then is absence of information? Blind panic, paranoia and a dangerous helping of speculation.

When it comes to the fuel shortages in Northern Emirates, things are escalating to levels of worry that Kipp doubts anyone could have foreseen. The National reports this Tuesday, for example, residents fear the shortages “may begin to affect power supplied by diesel generators as the summer heat boosts demand.”

More than 400 buildings in Ajman are powered solely by generators, as the emirate has for years been dealing with a lack of electricity infrastructure and generation capacity, according to the same article.

These concerns can only be quelled by two things: a clear explanation of the fuel shortage and, more importantly, updates on what’s being done to alleviate the problem.

So what is this really about? Transparency.

It’s hard to keep cool about the discrepancies in reasoning and the absence of a real official statement when residents are faced with a possible electricity shutdown. After all, no electricity means no air conditioning, no lifts, damaged perishable and ultimately an unbearable summer.

PR machines may be surprised to find that with the right injection of transparency, purveyors of paranoia and dangerous speculation won’t have much to go on.


Several of these speculations have been listed in a report Kipp has done this Monday. One of the conspiracy theories on that list has something to do with eventually hiking gas prices.

But a news piece from Emirates 24/7 published this Tuesday, said “petrol prices in the UAE will not change despite the shortage being faced by a section of state-owned fuel retailers, according to oil industry sources in the country.”

Unfortunately the reports still came from unnamed insider sources and information gathering information from other media titles, including Al Ittihad which reports Emarat planning to import petrol from the world market.

Imagine the difference if this was actually an official statement has been sent out in the early stages of the petrol crisis. Speculation may not be completely quelled but paranoia sure would be.

So how much longer can residents keep taking these ‘little inconveniences’ (like running out of electricity and lack of petrol due to ‘maintenance’ and ‘expansion’ issues) with a grain salt?

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