[WATCH] Energy Minister says frequent power cuts are 'unacceptable'

Energy Minsiter Miriam Dalli says Enemalta has been instructed to draw up a plan to identify and solve the issues leading to hours-long power cuts caused by failures in the distribution system

Energy minister Miriam Dalli
Energy minister Miriam Dalli

Updated at 2:00 pm with PN statement

Energy Minister Miriam Dalli has said frequent power cuts are “unacceptable” and instructed Enemalta to address weaknesses in the distribution system.

She said the outages, which at times lasted hours on end, were with the distribution network and not the generation of electricity.

“It is not a question of supply, but a question of distribution, where we have low voltages in certain areas, which need to be addressed as quickly as possible,” she said.

Dalli was replying to journalists after the past couple of weeks saw various localities hit by frequent power cuts throughout the day and night. The outages come during a period of intense heat that has hit the islands.

“The issue is evident in a number of localities, and for me the situation is unacceptable,” Dalli said. “I understand people’s frustration, especially during a heatwave.”

Consumer backlash over a series of scheduled maintenance works that would have necessitated further electricity cuts forced Enemalta to postpone the works earlier this week.

Dalli said that she has communicated directly with Enemalta to draw up a plan to identify where the issues lie, so that they are resolved.

“In recent months government has invested €130 million in the distribution of energy, but it is clear that it was not enough... We have to continue this investment,” Dalli said.

The Nationalist Party also said the power cuts are a result of the government’s lack of investment in the distribution network, with spokesperson Ryan Callus saying the Labour government’s policy on the sector only means “darkness and heat.”

Government should compensate those affected by power cuts – PN

The Nationalist Party insisted that the government should shoulder the responsibility for the number of power cuts being experienced across the islands.

“We not only have a government of heat and darkness, but one of silence,” spokesperson Ryan Callus said. “You would have expected better from a government who pioneered the energy sector as one of its flagship projects.”

He said Dalli should have explained what is leading to the power cuts, rather than just apologising.

Callus insisted that government was so fixated on the generation of electricity, that it forgot about its distribution, despite large developments in the property sector during recent years.

“A PN government will invest seriously in distribution, not the few millions Dalli spoke about, leading to more balanced voltage in households,” he said.

He also insisted government should compensate those affected by the power cuts, but fell short of explaining how the sum should be worked out.

“If you have a father who had to take leave off work because he could not sleep the night before, he will do nothing with the minister’s apologies,” he said. “We want compensation because someone should shoulder the responsibility.”

READ ALSO: PN blames power outages on government’s lack of investment in distribution network