The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

TMID Editorial: Interconnector - Giving credit when it is due

Saturday, 15 February 2020, 08:51 Last update: about 7 months ago

People are often quick to criticise Enemalta when the country experiences a widespread or nationwide blackout, but are not as quick to acknowledge and appreciate the effort that its workers put in to fix the damage and restore the country’s energy supply.

Back in December, Enemalta had announced that a series of power outages were the result of interconnector damage caused by a ship’s anchor.

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The energy corporation had said in December that it would take weeks, if not months, to determine the extent of the damage and to fix it. Replacing a huge electric cable that is buried deep into the seabed is surely no easy task. It had been speculated, back then, that the repair works could take up to six months.

But Enemalta said yesterday that the damage will be fixed in the coming days and the interconnector will be up and running by the third week of March.

It also said that talks are underway with the insurance company representing the vessel that caused the damage to that the €11 million bill can be recouped.

In this day and age, everyone feels that a stable supply of energy is a right. After all, that’s why we pay our utility bills. But we must also acknowledge that, every once in a while, accidents that are beyond Enemalta’s control do happen.

While consumers have a right to complain about power cuts, especially business owners who incur financial damages when such a thing happens, we must also appreciate the fact that Enemalta acted swiftly and did all it could to ensure that the damage is repaired in as short a time as possible.

We must also point out that over the past few weeks there have been no other widespread power cuts.

Enemalta CEO Jason Vella had said on Indepth that the corporation was incurring huge costs to ensure that the country had an adequate provision of energy but these would not reflect in higher consumer prices.

While there had been fears that Malta’s power plants would buckle under the added demand caused by factories coming back online after the Christmas shut-down, no such thing happened.

Hopefully, the repair process will not hit any snags and will not be hampered by bad weather, and the given timeframes will be adhered to.

Beyond that, Enemalta must look to the future and ensure that the country is well-prepared for future energy demands. Vella had said on Indepth that, in 2019, the demand for energy increased by more than 4% over the previous year. The demand is set to keep growing year after year.

The government has released a tender for an analysis of how the energy generation system is expected to develop by 2035.

Asked whether Enemalta is looking towards the possibility of investing in a second interconnector, Energy Minister Michael Farrugia said yesterday that the government would rather invest in alternative energy and is evaluating different methods.

This is a good step which would not only meet Malta’s future energy demands but also ensure a cleaner environment and help Malta reach its renewable energy targets.

 

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