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Syria electricity output 'nearly halved by fuel shortages'

Syria's official media reports that electricity production in the country is abysmal affected by lack of fuel supplies at power plants

AFP , Tuesday 15 Jan 2013
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Electricity production in Syria has been halved by a lack of fuel supplies at power plants and transport difficulties caused by deteriorating security, the official daily Tishrin said on Tuesday.

"There is a shortfall of about 3,000 megawatts due to a lack of fuel and gas supplies needed to operate the power plants. Production is only at 5,500 megawatts," down from its normal level of 8,500.

Meanwhile, demand has risen to 9,500 megawatts, widening the production gap, the newspaper said.

For nearly a year, trains have stopped transporting fuel and gas to power plants due to the insecurity in the country, where a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad has raged for 22 months.

Electricity consumption increased by 45 percent year-on-year, especially in the province of Damascus.

Electricity Minister Imad Khamis told government daily Ath-Thawra that "thousands of cables have been damaged by acts of sabotage committed by armed terrorist groups."

Demand has grown, as many Syrians shifted to electrical heating from oil, whose price per litre skyrocketed from 20 Syrian pounds ($0.28) to more than 100 pounds ($1.40) in the capital and increased tenfold in other regions.

Damascus now faces six-hour daily electricity cuts, while those living in other war-ravaged areas of the country are largely without power.

An official from the Aleppo electricity company told AFP on Tuesday that only 40 percent of the city's electricity needs are being met.

"There are four power stations located in opposition-controlled areas of the city which are no longer in operation. These stations normally cover 20 percent of the city's needs," he said.

"The main power station is working at only half of its production capacity because there are shortages of fuel and gas. There are also damaged cables across the city," the source added.

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