Marsascala residents have spent long hours in darkness and stifling heat after a power cut late in the night was not resolved come morning.
Several residents voiced their frustrations that they had been left without electricity in a heatwave.
Residents took to a Facebook group to vent their frustration on Thursday afternoon, saying the power cut lasted more than 12 hours.
As Malta roasts under the rays of an August heatwave, many complained of not being able to sleep without fans and air conditioning, while others lamented the damage to their household appliances and the spoilt food that would have to be thrown out due to the lack of refrigeration.
“We haven’t had electricity since 11pm yesterday evening and it’s now 1pm and we are still in the same situation with no updates,” Stefania, who lives in Triq Gidwet, told Times of Malta.
“It’s already difficult as we have a baby. My son was uncomfortable and could not sleep, waking up every 20 minutes until he exhausted himself at 4am. I fell asleep at 5am and woke up at 7am.
“I’m exhausted and it’s terribly hot. I cannot understand how I still don’t have electricity. All the food in the freezer will have to be thrown away. It’s a disaster.”
Another woman living in Triq il-Gradiel, who asked not to be named, said her ill mother had experienced a very rough night after the power went out just before midnight.
“My mother didn’t sleep a wink all night and had to go to chemotherapy this morning. I’m about to pick her up and we are still without power. It’s a disgrace.”
“This is not to mention that the insulin she needs is in the fridge and needs to be kept cold, it will probably have to be thrown away.”
It isn't just residents who have been affected.
In an angry Facebook post, Bongo Nyah, a Marsascala restaurant on Triq il-Gardiel, informed patrons it would not be opening.
Describing this situation in hashtags as a "third world country" and "back to the 80s", the restaurant said it could not open for business due to the prolonged lack of electricity.
"We are closed today due to power-loss for the last 15 hours and still we don't know anything yet! Sorry for the inconvenience but it's beyond our control. You had one job Enemalta and you're incompetent in doing it!"
A spokesperson for Enemalta said that two faults had occurred in the locality in short succession and that workers have been on site since last night carrying out repair works.
He said while works were ongoing, the agency would be supplementing power to residents through generators being installed in the area.
He added that the faults were likely caused by increased demand and consumption of power due to the heatwave.
"Enemalta engineers and technicians are conducting emergency works on two faults which developed last night on a high voltage cable. These faults led to a power cut in Marsascala," the agency said in a Facebook post.
An Enemalta team was deployed on site as soon as the fault developed to conduct the necessary repair works. Due to the extent of the works on the affected underground cables, the repairs are still underway. Until these works are finalised, Enemalta is supplying electricity through generators connected to substations, where possible.
Minister says situation is 'unacceptable'
Earlier on Thursday, Energy Minister Miriam Dalli told journalists that the current situation of frequent power cuts was “unacceptable” and that she had ordered Enemalta to devise a plan to address the issue immediately.
“The issue is more than evident in some localities and I find it unacceptable. I understand the frustration of people suffering because of a lack of power, particularly in a heatwave,” she said.
Dalli said that in the past few years the government invested €130 million in the distribution system but clearly this was not enough. This is a situation that is going to take time to resolve but it must be addressed.
People should be compensated - PN
Addressing a press conference, Opposition spokesperson for energy Ryan Callus said it was inconceivable how energy distribution had failed so dramatically and said that people affected should be offered compensation by the government for their suffering.
“The Labour government promised to revolutionise our energy sector and instead in 2021 we are living in heat and darkness,” Callus said.
In the height of a heatwave, when the system needed to be the most reliable, it failed.
He said that multiple prolonged power cuts had been reported in multiple localities around the island for weeks and added that he had received reports of people resorting to sleeping in their running, air-conditioned cars to find some relief from the heat.
The government, he said, was too busy focusing on the Electrogas deal that committed Malta to unfavourable energy rates and fattened the pockets of the few, to realise it needed to beef up the distribution system for this to be on par with the increased demand from households.
On Wednesday, Enemalta postponed 27 planned powercuts due for scheduled maintenance work after consumer backlash.
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