[WATCH] Naxxar residents, businesses detail sleepless nights and lost customers during blackouts

'Desperate' Naxxar residents described their experiences with power cuts, while business owners say they expect compensation for lost business 

Sleepless nights, businesses refusing customers and people throwing away food are among the experiences witnessed in Malta during the past week.

Speaking to MaltaToday, many people described similar experiences on Wednesday, more than a week after power cuts started hitting residences and businesses hard.

MaltaToday went to Naxxar and Żurrieq, some of the country’s hardest hit localities, to understand better how people have been impacted by the country.

One man told this newspaper that he experienced power cuts in his home on Tuesday, which lasted a bit more than 12 hours. “We work to be comfortable, not to spend our time sweating all the time.” Another woman who also experienced prolonged power cuts said that she spent some of her nights trying to cool down, saying that “it was a desperate night.”

“We don’t know what to do,” another man whose son is a local business owner said, as he expressed hopes that government would give compensation to people hit by the power cuts. At home, his situation was no better, saying that he spent restless nights before going to work.

Speaking to MaltaToday, one woman said that when power cuts started to affect her, she spent most of the day working remotely outside of her home, where she would search for places with internet connection and air conditioning.

“We went out for dinner here,” she said, pointing to the street behind her, “but they could not give us dinner so we moved to somewhere else.”

Another foreign woman who said that she visits Malta and stays here for a few months during the year said that, “my friends who were coming here on holiday have cancelled.” 

A number of business owners in the centre of Naxxar also spoke about problems with electricity. In fact, one restaurant, which was open at around 8:00am and could not turn on its lights, closed its doors a few hours later, as the lack of electricity made it impossible to stay open and serve customers. 

Meanwhile, the majority of restaurants opposite the Naxxar church were not open for business, as a number of them had placed signs on their doors saying that it was impossible to serve clients without electricity.

A few metres away, the owner of a petrol station was forced to stay by the station in case the power was restored. He explained that his presence at the station was futile, as the constant electricity outages meant that customers could not fill up their tanks or pump their tires. The owner constantly turned away customers stopping by in their cars, as he told them that he had no electricity and could not offer any services.

Complaints from Żurrieq

MaltaToday also visited Żurrieq, another locality that was hit hard by blackouts, where despite the same general sense of frustration expressed in Naxxar, people were much more reluctant to give comments on camera. “We know that these problems are because of increased demands,” one Żurrieq resident said, refuting repeated claims made by the government where it was stated that the cable faults causing blackouts are due to the heatwave.

“There’s been no planning,” another stated, “The population exploded and we haven’t thought enough about what that means for our infrastructure.” Meanwhile, one Żurrieq shop owner stated that during the recent village feast, they had to close up shop and lost out on one of the busiest times of the year. “I hope they (the government) compensate us and everyone else who lost money during this time.”