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Sharjah power crisis could hurt economy

Economists and industry sources estimated the damage incurred by the industrial sector due to the power outages in Sharjah to range between Dh70m and Dh100m.

Image Credit:Javed Nawab/Gulf News
Medium and small industrial firms and workshops in the industrial areas are being affected by the power cuts over the last 20 days.
Gulf News

Sharjah: Economists and industry sources Monday estimated the damage incurred by the industrial sector due to the power outages in emirate in the past 20 days to range between Dh70 million and Dh100 million.

They believe that the power shortage manifested in the past 20 days in Sharjah was a result of a lack of funds for expansion and a bit of mismanagement.

Sources told Gulf News that the credit crunch has affected the financing of the project and unless the federal government comes to the rescue, the power situation in Sharjah will be dim.

Video: Sharjah struggles in the dark

When contacted by Gulf News, Sewa officials in charge of supplying power, water and natural gas to residential, commercial and industrial entities in the emirate declined to give an answer to when the problem is expected to be over and why such a problem is happening in an oil rich country like the UAE.

A spot survey by Gulf News revealed that medium and small industrial firms and workshops in the industrial areas are being affected by the power cuts over the last 20 days. Owners and operators of firms said they are suffering also from a serious decline in their productivity of 25 to 30 per cent.

"We are working shorter hours and the productivity of our workforce has declined tremendously because of unbearable living conditions," the owner of a carpentry shop in the industrial area 4 told Gulf News.

"I don't mind giving my staff extra rest hours in Ramadan, but I don't foresee how things will develop after the fasting month," the owner said.

He said there are positive signs of Sewa easing its rationalisation measures at the industrial areas, with electricity being provided for more than 12 hours in the past two days.

Experts believe that the industrial and workshop sector's contribution to SharJjah's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008 will decline this year if no solution was found to the power crisis. In 2008, the sector contributed 16 per cent of the emirate's GDP. In monetary terms, it contributed Dh11.52 billion to Sharjah's GDP the previous year.

"Based on the previous years' figures, it is fair to say that the losses incurred by the industrial sector due to power shortages in the emirate has hit Dh100 million in the past 20 days," one economist said.

Sources said there is no prompt solution, as power consumption in the emirate has surpassed production levels. Unless temperatures came down significantly, coupled with voluntary power conservation measures by residents, any improvement is unlikely. "The gap between power production and consumption will increase and power shortages will worsen," a Sewa source told Gulf News.

Till date, the source said, Sewa has been imposing power rationalising measures in the industrial areas, which are less populated compared to residential areas in Al Majaz, Abu Shagara and Al Khan, which host the tallest towers in the emirate.

"Except for one incident where residents in Al Majaz area had to live without electricity for four hours on August 20, people living in high-rises are still enjoying uninterrupted supply of water and electricity. It is unknown what Sewa could do if the power shortage worsens in the coming weeks," he said.

An owner of a newly constructed tower in Al Majaz doubts Sewa's ability to connect power to his building. "I am not sure about the future of my investments. I have been waiting for a power connection for four months. Sewa officials promised to connect electricity at the end of the summer in October, but it seems there is no guarantee on this. The tower was built following assurances that Sewa has enough power to supply the tower with once it is complete, but engineers are now delaying the connection," he said.

Dh70-100m damage incurred by the industrial sector due to power shortage

16% contribution of industrial and workshop sector to Sharjah's GDP

Dh11.52b contribution of the sector in monetary terms

Have your say
Do you work in the industrial area in Sharjah? How has the company you work for been affected by the power cuts? . Tell us at or fill in the comments form below.

Your comments

Its really shameful and i believe SEWA should compensate for the loses incurred, the management is fully to be resposible for all this, why cant they have a far sighted policy and plan things in accordance with the growth. Its sad to have such occurances in a developed city. Power and water are the first two factors that any city carters for.
Posted: September 08, 2009, 16:06

The authority should take serious measures on controlling the lightings for 1-10 dirham shops and advertisements, then redirect that power to the affected area. It is horrible in residential area with out electricity during the summer season.
Posted: September 08, 2009, 15:32

My husband's salary is 1 week delayed now because the boss is not giving salary cus they are working for few hours only because no electricity in morning specially in the evening. So that's the reason why his boss is delaying their salary. Very bad situation caused by SEWA.
Posted: September 08, 2009, 14:10

I live in Industrial Area 3 of Sharjah. Our lights always go off around 9 pm every night. During the day I'm at work, so I don't need electricity. But at night, after I come home from work, I need electricity so that I can sleep in my own home. I am forced to go sleep at a friend or relatives house. Out of the 7 days in a week, I only have electricity for 2 nights. It's not fair that ppl in Al Majaz have electricity every night, and I only have it twice in a week. How is family supposed to sleep in the heat? If SEWA is going to cut electricity, cut it from everyone once a week. Make it FAIR, don't always cut the electricity on my block!
Karim Hussain
Posted: September 08, 2009, 12:48

We understand that their is current crisis going with SEWA.My question why is industrial area itself trageted?Why cant SEWA distribute the current shut down with other parts of sharjah also, may be not for 10hr, atleast 2hr each in all parts?One last suggestion: Why cant SEWA switch over to solar power, atleast with street lights? Please try an alternative resource of energy, and solar energy seems to be the best.BEFORE THE SITUATION GETS MORE WORSE.
From A Reader
Posted: September 08, 2009, 12:37

it was very bad days in ramadan i saw first time like this in sharjah its very shame for sharjah. all people are in truble.
Posted: September 08, 2009, 12:20

We are working in a company based in DUBAI but accomodations are in SHARJAH, industrial area on KALBA road. Since it all has started, there were just a few days when electricity was available for the whole day. Other wise there is no prior information about the power load sheeding. In RAMADAN it's extremely difficult for muslims to carry on their fasting in a hot summer like this and without A/C's being working. I just have a request to SEWA authority to alteast don't cut the power in RAMADAn and EID holidays.Hope somebody will notice my comments and things will be changed for the suffering communities in SHARJAH.
Mohammad Asim
Posted: September 08, 2009, 12:14

People should try and use resources efficienly and effectively. And for the government switch off the lights on the roads, reduce them to half, no ramadan lighting on streets and highways. Fine showrooms that have their lamps lit for no reason all night long.
From A Reader
Posted: September 08, 2009, 12:05

We are living in sharjah industrial area 2, there is much problem of electricity during Ramadan. In Ramadan it is very difficult to live without Electricity. 4 to 6 Hour Electric Failure here which become better as previous 12 hour electric failure. There has been no plan to fulfill the Problem for last one month. So please do full attention to solve this matter.
Imran Arshad
Posted: September 08, 2009, 12:04

Some one has said very wrongly that 'a bit of mismanagement'. I think that its a total mismanagement and lack of attention towards the great Emirate.
Posted: September 08, 2009, 12:04

All i can say is that there is a 36 storey Tower right next to my building on King Faisal street, it was finished 2 years back and still there is no signs of it getting power connection.
Posted: September 08, 2009, 10:20

i am living with my family in sharjah, last 12 years, anyway this is first time this type of power cut happened,my suggestion if this type will come pls sewa will arrange rotation wise in a short period, that case nobody can suffer 4-5 hours
Posted: September 08, 2009, 10:08

it was a very bad experience of my since I came to U.A.E this is the first time I face a problem this much some times power cut for short time but almost 20days its very difficult especially in Ramadan period but now its better. Thanks for Sewa to solve the power problem
Posted: September 08, 2009, 09:30

In Derrari district in Ramadan afternoon last week we suffered 4 hours without electricity too. I believe the electricity and water authority should only be one in the country. A federal Water and electricity Authority. This is the only long lasting solution.
Posted: September 08, 2009, 09:17

SEWA can save power by switching of the Ramadan additional lights on the street lamp pole and all the round about. I have seen street light on till 9am in many areas if switched off timely it will help save lot of power. They can also cut down on the usage of light for hoarding and other road advertisement till the problem is resolved since providing lights to people should be more important than advertising the product. Number of lamps in the street light can be cut down ? this will also help to save power. There are many ways of saving power but some should think about it and implement it in order support the society.
Shaikh Mohammad Yakub
Posted: September 08, 2009, 08:55

We have very big plastic product company and have continue run process. If we breaks once we loose production and when we start again we make scrap and very difficult to set line. Our company run day-night .Until now we lost huge money. Now generator rent going up. The situation going more worse without power and internet also get stop when power goes.
R. K. Sharma
Posted: September 08, 2009, 07:13