UAE: Thousands Left Without Electricity in Sharjah


Thousands left without electricity in Sharjah

SHARJAH - AUG 20: Thousands of people were left without electricity for more than 24 hours, after an overloaded network caused a mass power failure in a densely populated area of Sharjah.

Residents in several of the emirate’s industrial areas remained in the dark yesterday as to when the electrical supply would return to their homes and businesses.

The power in Industrial Areas 1, 3 and 6, as well as Hamriya Free Zone, where more than 10,000 people live, went off at midday on Tuesday and remained disconnected late into yesterday afternoon.

Last night, the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) said that it was working to rectify the problem.

However, business was almost at a standstill in Hamriya – the economic heart of the emirate – with factories halting their operations. Families were forced to flee their homes because of the lack of air conditioning.

According to the authority, the problem occurred because of a sudden breakdown at a major electricity plant supplying the affected areas.

“We have started to implement the first phase of our emergency plan as a result of a sudden failure in one of the main power generating plants; the failure was caused by a malfunction in one of the main transmission lines overpowered by the large load it was carrying as the consumption in summer is high,” it said in a statement.

“We appeal to the residents to co-operate in this emergency by conserving electricity as the cost of electricity production is very high especially in times when there is a big expansion in residential and commercial buildings in Sharjah.”

Supermarkets and grocery shops were among the worst affected, with food spoilt through the lack of refrigeration.

The municipality voiced its concern about the possibility of food poisoning if shop owners were to return the spoilt food to the shelves.

Taqiudin, who runs the Jameela Supermarket, said he had asked his salespeople to throw away all of the milk, fish and other products that were affected by the lack of refrigeration.

“It’s a bold decision but a painful one also to lose so much because these products make up most of our income, but it’s worth throwing them [rather] than poisoning a customer as the reputation of my supermarket is more important than a few days’ income,” he said.

Outside many of the residential buildings several families simply waited for the power to return; their homes were too hot for them to stay inside.

Others sought refuge in their cars or stayed with relatives and friends in other areas.

Imran Ali, from Pakistan, who lives in a building in Industrial Area 1, said he had moved his family to stay with his brother in Al Khan.

“At around midnight we decided we had to go back home and sleep with or without power,” he said. “Our six-year-old was supposed to go to a summer camp in the morning; we also had to go to work and all this needed us to stay at our home.”

Yesterday Mr Ali’s family spent the day at Sharjah City Centre, to escape the heat. “I picked them up from the centre when I left from work and I had to keep driving them around in my car for some time. After I got tired of driving we decided to go back home and sleep without air conditioning,” he said.

The situation was made even more chaotic after the blackout caused traffic lights to fail at most junctions and roundabouts, resulting in worse traffic than normal in the industrial areas.

Police were called to the affected areas yesterday, as motorists struggled to move through the heavy congestion.

“What actually happened here was a real mess,” said Attallah Khan, who was stuck in traffic for more than two hours as he tried to reach his home in Sharjah.

The traffic lights were finally restored by late yesterday afternoon.

Another road closure lined up for Salam Street work

ABU DHABI - AUG 20: Motorists frustrated by the road closures around Salam Street should brace themselves for more disruption.

From tomorrow, another section will be shut to accommodate work. This time, a 1.5km stretch of the Eastern Ring Road’s left lane at the Ministry of Labour and Khalifa Park junction will be closed for three weeks for the installation of electrical and telephone cables.

The Salam Street Project, which began in October 2007 and is expected to end next year, will create a series of tunnels, roads and overpasses that will double the capacity of Salam Street to 6,000 cars an hour. However, the work has caused long delays for traffic, with some businesses in the area reporting falls in sales of as much as a third since it began.

Rents have dropped steeply in the areas affected by the work.

Despite the problems, Abu Dhabi Municipality assured residents and companies yesterday that the new road network would ease traffic and significantly reduce travel time between residential areas and the central business district.

“Once finished, Al Salam Street Projects are expected to boost the economic and social advancement of the capital,” it said.

The projects, which will cost Dh5 billion (US$1.36bn), will divide the artery into four sections running the length of the city. The roads are to be widened and new pedestrian facilities are planned.

An eight-lane tunnel will run through the city centre between Mina Road and Al Falah Street. There will be three levels of traffic at Hazaa bin Zayed Street, and a bridge and tunnel interchange will link the old city to Reem Island.

The project also involves the replacement of electrical cables supplying power to the neighbourhoods around Salam Street.

In February, trenches were dug to update the electricity network in the Tourist Club district in an attempt to prevent power cuts during the summer.


City planners have promised that the construction on Salam Street will be one of the last major civil engineering projects to cause severe traffic disruptions and badly affect businesses and residents.

Although there are plans for a wide-reaching tram and metro system to be built, the municipality has said it hopes that future construction methods will be less intrusive.

Fare cards kick off Metro launch

DUBAI - AUG 20: Pre-paid fare cards that can be used on the Metro, buses and water taxis will be launched today by the Roads and Transport Authority.

The card called Silver Nol, or Silver Fare, will be the first of three for use on public transport. The other cards will be gold, giving access to the high-end Gold Class carriages on the Metro, and blue, which has to carry a photograph of the passenger and is meant for students and seniors.

Silver cards will be valid for five years and will be available beginning today from RTA customer service centres, bus stations and marine stations across the emirate. They can be topped up to as much as Dh500 (US$136). They cost Dh20 and will come with Dhs14 of Silver Class ticket money. Abdullah al Madani, the chief executive officer of the RTA’s corporate technical support services sector, said the Dh6 fee was a one-off charge covering the cost of the card. The cards will be activated when the 52km Red Line opens on September 9.

If you travel less than 3km in one of the five zones on a bus, the Metro or both, you will pay Dh1.80 with the Nol Card. Longer journeys inside the zones will cost Dh2.30 with a Nol card and Dh2.50 otherwise. Travel outside the zones will be pro-rated.

A journey within any one of the zones will cost Dh2.30 on a Nol card, or Dh2.50 for a regular ticket. It will cost Dh4.10 on a card to travel through two zones, and Dh4.50 for a ticket. Any journey that passes through three zones or more will cost Dh5.80 with the card and Dh6.50 with a ticket.

Travel in Gold Class carriages will cost Dh3.60 on a card or Dh4 using a ticket for a journey within one zone. For a trip across three zones or more in Gold Class, it will cost Dh11.60 on the card. A two-zone, 30-day adult pass will cost Dh180, and a three-zone pass will cost Dh270. A one-zone pass will cost Dh100.

A 30-day student pass will cost Dh170, and a 30-day senior pass Dh200. The RTA also plans to introduce technologies, including a SIM card for mobile phones that can be monitored by the fare gates. Card holders can also use it to pay for Metro parking at three of the stations. Commuters have 30 minutes between journeys to keep a fare active.

Mr al Madani said there would be more offers available once the Metro was launched.

“Various types of Nol cards will be on offer which can be topped up at various points approved by the RTA, such as ticket-vending offices and vending machines spreading throughout Metro stations, bus stations, water bus stations, RTA customer service centres, as well as approved sales agents that will be announced shortly,” he added.

Abu Dhabi gets ready to roll out its 40 new buses

ABU DHABI - 20:Forty new buses will take to the streets of the capital on Saturday, adding new routes to the suburbs, as transport authorities promise to increase services by almost a third to meet an expected surge in demand during Ramadan.

At the same time, public buses will start operating in Al Ain, with 50 vehicles covering four routes.

The new Abu Dhabi buses will operate across the capital island, replacing 40 vehicles that will be moved to new routes into Bani Yas, Musaffah and Shahama.

Once Ramadan begins, extra buses will be added to the roster every three or four days, according to Saeed al Hameli, the general manager of the public bus office at the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT). This will permit more buses to be diverted to the new routes.

Mr al Hameli said the DoT was aiming for a total of 250 buses in the capital by the end of the year.

The Abu Dhabi buses are the MAN and Mercedes Benz models that were initially expected to enter service in June. However, they were delayed by “internal challenges” in working out optimum routes within the city, said Mr al Hameli.

The buses are equipped with cameras and screens, and have three doors to reduce overcrowding among passengers entering and exiting. They also have several features for special needs passengers, including wheelchair ramps. Each bus can accommodate 68 passengers, 33 of them seated.

Mr al Hameli said there would be a 30 per cent increase in public bus trips during Ramadan, when more people were expected to use buses at night. At present about 65,000 people use the existing nine routes in Abu Dhabi every day.

In Al Ain, the 50 new buses will be made available for commuters from Saturday, with a further 50 expected by the end of the year, 134 by the end of next year, and 350 by the last quarter of 2011.

Four more routes will be added by January, with nine more due in 2010.

The initial routes in Al Ain will be between Al Foa’a and Al Bateen, al Nabbagh and Zakher, al Maqam East and Bawadi Mall, and Al Maqam West and Ain al Fayda. Buses will run every 30 minutes during Ramadan, with a brief break during iftar.

Passengers will pay a fixed fare of Dh1 for the launch routes, but the Government said the fare structure would be revised later this year.

The routes and buses are part of Al Ain’s Public Transport Master Plan, a component of the Plan Al Ain 2030 that aims to develop the garden city’s infrastructure in anticipation of rising population levels and demand for services. A bus station was opened in Al Ain last month.

“The Department of Transport is committed to fulfilling its promises to the public by developing public transport services throughout the emirate including Al Ain,” said Mr al Hameli in a statement.

“Since the original launch of public buses in 2008, ongoing improvements have been implemented including additional routes and facilities, and increased working hours to transform and upgrade the quality and level of the services provided to the public,” he added.

In July, the DoT added 15 buses to the route between Al Ain and Abu Dhabi, increasing the rate to one bus every 15 minutes.

The Urban Planning Council expects the population in Al Ain to increase by 21 per cent over the next five years.

Taxi drivers ‘snubbing’ customers

DUBAI - AUG 20: The number of taxi drivers refusing to stop and pick up passengers was the biggest source of complaint about cabs in the first half of the year, according to transport officials.

The public transport agency of the Road and Traffic Authority released its biannual report yesterday, detailing the performance of taxis in the emirate, including breaches of the code of conduct and the number of complaints.

“January witnessed the highest number of violations, which reached 1,417 offences, while May had the lowest number, with 399 violations reported,” said Essa Abdul Rahman al Dossari, the agency’s chief executive.

“Most of the violations represent refusing to pick up passengers, failure to abide by the official uniform or the general appearance and obstructing traffic flow.”

The emirate’s taxis belong to six franchised companies: the Dubai Taxi Corporation, which is subsidised by the RTA, National Taxi, Cars Taxi, Metro Taxi, Arabian Taxi and City Taxi.

Arabian Taxi, which operates 10 per cent of Dubai’s 7,941 cabs, received the highest proportion of complaints, with an average of 58 per 100,000 trips. National Taxi (19 per cent) fared the best, with 42 complaints per 100,000 trips.

The report also said a number of illegal taxis were operating in Dubai, with 245 cases reported in March alone.


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Comment on this article

  • saima , industrial area 1

    Wed, Sep 02 2009

    Therer is no electricity in sharjah, for sixteen days.several times I called at 991 but they are not receiving the call,why.and its ramadan, don''t any one think that.  Please,try something.and help us,in this situation.thank you.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

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