The Malta Independent 17 July 2024, Wednesday
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TMID Editorial: It’s June, and we’ve had our first power cut

Tuesday, 18 June 2024, 10:56 Last update: about 29 days ago

It’s the beginning of June, and the country had a near-nationwide power cut.

It lasted around an hour in certain parts. But it only took minutes for people to take to Facebook and start, rightfully, complaining about the situation.

The temperature is in the 30s. Its hot, but not yet heatwave hot. God forbid this happened at the end of June or in July and August when temperatures are normally at their peak.

But this situation obviously led to wild reactions from the public on Facebook.

Enemalta had said on its Facebook page that the Malta-Sicily Interconnector was switched off on Sunday morning for maintenance works on the switchgear at the Magħtab terminal station. “The switchgear works are essential to mitigate a fault that had developed during the past days. During testing of the switchgear at Magħtab, a number of distribution feeders tripped at 6.08pm. Subsequently, a number of machines at Delimara tripped. After the situation was stabilized, the tripped distribution feeders were switched back on, and full supply was restored by 7.26pm.”

Cuts were reported in localities such as Mellieha, St Paul’s Bay, Mosta, Senglea, Fgura, Santa Venera Qormi, Cospicua, Gzira, Msida, Zebbug, Marsaxlokk, Zurrieq, Paola, Marsa, Hamrun, Mosta, Siggiewi, San Gwann, Zejtun, Naxxar, Qrendi, Iklin and a host of other localities.

Now what happened on Sunday is obviously not the same situation as last summer, and the cut was resolved relatively quickly. If maintenance works were needed then they were needed, no ifs and buts. A trip can happen, true, but perhaps better safeguards or mechanisms should be implemented to prevent such issues -  if they are possible (we are not electrical engineers). Having such a widespread powercut is not an acceptable situation.

Now that summer is upon us, the cut brought back the fear after last summer. If the country goes through what it did last summer again due to the distribution network not having been up to scratch, then resignations will definitely be in order. Last summer the country was sent into chaos for days due to Enemalta being unprepared for the levels of heat that was experienced. The government had announced that a lot of work with regards to the electricity cables had been done over the past year. One truly hopes that the work done on the distribution network will hold up.

The country has just one single energy distributor, and there are no alternatives on offer. It has to ensure that supply is not interrupted, at the very least on a wide scale, especially when temperatures are above 30 degrees Celsius.

On another point, while the government continues to bolster the energy network, it would do well to plan ahead, unlike in the past. The population numbers are rising, construction is still booming. At this rate energy demand will continue to rise. One hopes that this will not become a cause of any issues in the future.

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