Turn the light on
Power shortages in the northern Emirates pose serious environmental and economic repercussions.
August 26, 2009 10:20 by Dana El Baltaji
Poor planning and insufficient power supplies to the northern Emirates by the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA) may lead to economic instability and environmental damage, reports The National citing a study by the Federal National Council (FNC).
The northern Emirates, namely Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Umm al Qaiwain, rely on the federal government to provide them with electricity and water.
According to the FNC study, approximately 1,000 commercial buildings in the area lack electricity and water. Some buildings have been without power for years, forcing some building owners to resort to using environmentally-unfriendly generators.
Rashed al Shariqi, a FNC member from Ras al Khaimah, said to the newspaper: “If this were a cost effective solution, everyone would buy generators and use them instead,” he said. “But it’s not. If you walk in the street and see each building with a single generator, how much noise will we get? How much pollution will we get?”
In addition to the environmental repercussions of the wide-spread use of petrol-powered generators, the northern Emirates face a serious threat to its economy due to power shortages.
Yousef Neaimi, another FNC member from Ras al Khaimah, explained that building owners face bad debts due to FEWA’s broken promises: “For most of these buildings, they couldn’t start construction until they received approval from the electricity authority.”
“Sadly, FEWA did not keep their promise, and a lot of building owners are now left with debts in their banks that are going bad,” he said.
Without the return on investment building owners banked on, they cannot repay the debts they incurred to pay construction costs.
“When they started building all these buildings, the interest rates on loans were much lower and there was a lot of liquidity in the market,” Neaimi said. “Now rates have gone up.
“And, of course, all of these buildings are financed by banks, and all of their owners are going to be hit with bad debts,” he added.