- Title: Tripoli residents voice concern over power outage
- Date: 15th January 2017
- Summary: VARIOUS OF WORKERS IN BUILDING WHITE BOARD WITH DIAGRAM ILLUSTRATING GRID
- Embargoed: 29th January 2017 15:22
- Keywords: Libya electricty power cut
- Location: TRIPOLI, LIBYA
- City: TRIPOLI, LIBYA
- Country: Libya
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0025Z6XCNP
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Western Libya was plunged into darkness late on Saturday (January 15) as a blackout already affecting the south spread to the capital, Tripoli, and other major cities, the national power company said.
The blackout extended from Libya's western border with Tunisia to the city of Ajdabiya, nearly 900 km (560 miles) to the east, national power company GECOL said in a statement.
The electricity grid had collapsed because a number of cities in western Libya had rejected terms for sharing out power cuts, it said.
It was the first time in recent memory that the whole of the western region, where most of Libya's 6.3 million inhabitants live, had its power cut.
But Tripoli residents voiced concern over the situation, placing the blame on politicians.
"What can I say? This is the country's current situation, it goes from bad to worse after three governments, several parliaments, and ministers. The situation remains the same, there's no electricity, there's no water, people are living in poverty and politicians just fight amongst each other, it's a disaster, it's a disaster,'' said one Libyan man.
Others compared their situation to Somalia.
"The power has been cut for 17 hours, from 6 pm last night to 6 am this morning, add another five hours, it'll be 17 hours. This is all on purpose, we're living a disaster, our living situation is worse than Somalia, we used to wonder how Somalia handles living like this, but now we're worse off than them,'' said Tripoli citizen Hussein Abdallah.
A Reuters reporter said on Saturday evening the only lights visible in Tripoli were in the central Martyrs' Square, and that all petrol stations had closed.
The persistent power cuts in Tripoli have left some residents resorting to charcoal during unusually cold winter weather. Mains water supplies to the capital have also been cut for several days.
Tripoli and other cities in the west and south have been plagued by repeated and lengthy power cuts for months, and the south has been suffering a general blackout for at least the past four days.
GECOL did not mention the closure nearly a week ago of a gas pipeline in Zawiya, but it had earlier warned that the stoppage could trigger a general blackout if diesel fuel temporarily supplying the western city's power plant ran out.
Officials have previously blamed the power cuts on technical problems, damage from Libya's low-intensity military conflict, sabotage, and distortions to electricity supply caused by armed groups diverting scarce power to their own neighbourhoods.
The power cuts have contributed to the fragility of a U.N.-backed government that arrived in Tripoli last March but has failed to unite rival factions or halt a slide in living standards.
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