Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Restrictions of Water and Electricity in Cyprus to start tomorrow, July 13th

So... after yesterday's tragedy, and loss of the main electricity power plant in Cyprus, we are, as rumoured, going to experience serious restrictions of electricity for some time to come.

There's an official press release about the planned restrictions on the Cyprus Electricity Board website. Since the announcement is in Greek only, I put the web page into Google Translate. In English, the news is:

The EAC inform customers that should be expected disruption of electricity daily from 08.00 to 20.00 approx. The interruption in electricity supply will be sequentially approximately every 2 hours for a duration of 2 hours that each establishment should expect to have electricity two hours every second. Clarified that during the evening hours (from 20:00 until about 8:00) will be attempting such a provision is made ​​consistently to all customers of EAC.

The exact time duration of the interruption and the areas to be cut off depending on electricity demand and available production.

To reduce the number of sites that will cut to a minimum, consumers are invited to make as much as possible energy savings.

They are also those who have electric generators to make maximum use in accordance with Directive of the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA).

You should also note that the EAC will make every effort not to cut off such supply to critical services like hospitals, airports, ports, etc., as well as tourist and industrial areas.

So. It seems that we will have power every night from 8.00pm until 8.00am. Which is a relief since it would be difficult to do without lights (it gets dark by about 8.00pm even in the summer in Cyprus) and VERY uncomfortable to have to survive without any air conditioning overnight, when it is likely to be humid for the next couple of months.

However, it seems that we can expect electricity on for two hours at a time, then off for the next two hours for the other twelve hours during the day. We don't know whether we'll have it for the first couple of hours after 8.00am, or whether it will go off then and resume at 10.00am. And it's 'approximate', so it could be more, could be less. We might find, if people are extra-careful with their electricity usage, that we have more than two hours at a time and fewer cuts, but I'm assuming it will begin as described.

As for water - I can't find any official announcements at present, but we've heard that there is likely to be mains water on for about twelve hours in every 36. So, something like: one daytime, then 24 hours off, then one night-time.

How will it affect us personally?

With just three of us (while Tim is here) and reasonable-sized tanks, we're unlikely to run out of water so long as we're reasonably careful. We lived in Cyprus ten years ago when we had far more water restrictions; there was one period when we only had two 12-hour periods of water every week: one day, and one night. We learned to deal with it. I did all the laundry on the one day that it was on, and our tanks filled up with the one night. We only ran out a couple of times when we had visitors. We'll have to start storing more mains water, for drinking, but we did that for years so it shouldn't be too difficult.

As for electrical cuts, it could be worse. Fridges and freezers should be fine with just two hours off at a time, even in the summer; at least I hope so. Using my slow-cooker (crockpot) could be a problem since it's usually on for eight or more hours continually... and I shall have to be organised enough to make our morning coffee and squeeze fresh fruit juice before 8.00am each day. And since (if they do stick to the schedule roughly) our electricity should either be coming on or going off around 2.00pm, we'll just have to be a little flexible about when exactly to have our after-lunch frappés. The washing machine and dishwasher will simply stop working when power goes off, and start again when it resumes. I don't suppose that will matter (although I will try to run them early in the morning or, with the dishwasher, after 8.00pm where possible).

The biggest problem I can foresee, from a personal perspective, is that the bread-maker programme runs for nearly three hours. Perhaps I will just have to get up at 5.00 on the days when I want to make bread. Or use water rather than any kind of milk, and set it on the timer to start at 5.00. We don't use bread at breakfast, but eat it at lunch, so I usually start it around 9.00am. Having made our own bread for five and a half years now, I really don't want to have to go back to buying it again.

For the summer we will have to learn to cope without air conditioning for much of the day, and without being able to use the computer at home. I'm thankful for auto-saves in Blogger and Gmail, which mean that I won't lose too much if the electricity goes off suddenly.

Richard, meanwhile, is busy installing a new generator at his office. They have far too much going on, with important servers and other equipment running continually to be able to deal with two-hour power outages, so he had to buy a generator yesterday. Many businesses will be using generators where possible, just to keep going.

I know we Westerners are very spoilt compared to most of the world. I hope we can put up with a bit of discomfort and some careful planning to make the best use of what resources we have, and to appreciate how blessed we are. I hope, too, that tourism won't be too negatively affected, and that the island won't entirely grind to a halt.

Restoring the electricity plant is going to cost countless millions and may take eighteen months or more. What a tragedy that lives were lost and so much disruption is resulting, just because the government - or whoever was responsible - didn't feel that they had the time and resources to deal with the confiscated munitions.

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