PHOTO: An electricity blackout in Damascus, October 2013

The Assad regime has cut the availability of power in some parts of Damascus from 21 hours per day to eight.

The cuts began two weeks ago. However, in more privileged areas such as Abu Roumaneh and al-Malki, the outages only last for two hours per day.

The general manager of the Electricity Generating Corporation said last week, “There is a shortage of crude oil because fuel tankers, which are contracted by the government, have been delayed due to prevailing weather conditions.”

Residents responded with anger. Nader Gareeb, a recent University of Damascus graduate, said:

Syrians are sick and tired of the excuses surrounding electricity cuts.

We are aware that our infrastructure has become a disaster.

People are using rechargeable batteries and LED lights for power, with the better-off using electricity generators powered by gas or diesel.

Gareeb said the situation had improved in the spring, but “unfortunately, that didn’t last long”.

The resident also noted:

Electricity bills are unpredictable. Electricity collectors are corrupt. Most of the time they don’t even review electricity meters, they just write down fictitious numbers.

Sometimes the bill is low, no more than SP500 ($2). Other times it’s a whopping SP7,000 ($33), SP8,000 ($38) or more.

Bills are either extremely low or ridiculously high and they never correspond to people’s salaries or electricity use.

(hat tip to Syria Direct)