A blackout in Damascus, Syria in November 2016
Electricity Minister Ghassan al-Zamil has acknowledged that the Assad regime has failed to cope with the shortages in its areas of Syria.
Al-Zamil said on Sunday that the electricity gained from rationing of industrial facilities after 5 pm is small, not exceeding 150 megawatts. As a result, “this saving does not change much in the reality” for domestic consumers.
The Minister said the average generation of electricity is no more than 2,300 megawatts per day, and cannot cope with a trebling in demand during the cold weather of recent day.
He said it was difficult to establish a rationing program for consumers, as generation and demand are fluctating on a daily basis, depending on energy carriers, the state of the electrical grid, and changes in weather.
However, the Director of the Electricity Transmission and Distribution Corporation, Fawaz al-Daher, claimed that a unified program has now been developed and is being implemented across regime areas except for Damascus.
In the capital, two hours of electricity will be followed by a four-hour cutoff. Outside Damascus, the blackout will be five hours.
For years, residents in regime areas have faced shortages of food, fuel, and electricity — accompanied by spiralling inflation. In November, officials finally acknowledged the scale of a possible crisis with the combination of declining supply and rising demand during the winter.
Informal rationing meant blackouts of more than 20 hours per day in some provinces, including near Damascus and in Tartous in western Syria.
Officials said the solution was to obtain more gas supplies. They gave no indication of how this would be achieved.
Ironically, as it seeks recognition from other governments, the Assad regime is expected to transport electricity from Jordan to Lebanon in a US-backed regional plan.