State utility firm Fenaka has been fiercely criticised for power cuts in Addu City.
Addu City, an atoll comprising six islands with a combined population in excess of 21,000, has been losing power for more than a week after four generators failed.
The power cuts have triggered a probe, with Fenaka managing director Ahmed Shareef and other company officials summoned to appear before a parliamentary committee Wednesday.
Opposition MPs representing Addu city blamed the power crisis as a “failure” on the part of Fenaka and demanded the power station be handed over to STELCO or other companies capable of running it efficiently.
The politicians accused Fenaka of only reacting to short-term problems at the expense of finding a long-term solution to solve the power crisis.
According to regional news website Addu online, a former director of the Fenaka Hithadhoo branch had in fact asked the government to hand over the facility to STELCO.
Shareef defended his company, saying it was seeking funding for the construction of a new and updated power station in Addu. The project would cost USD$25 – 30 million dollars.
Fenaka was working on solving the current power cuts in the meantime, he said.
The company advised locals to avoid appliances that used too much power.
“We’ve been getting electricity for 20 hours every day for over a week now. We don’t know exactly when the power may go off, so it’s hard,” a 47-year-old man from Hithadhoo told the Maldives Independent.
“When we go to a shop when we need something the most, the shops are closed. Sometimes power goes off an hour before school and then kids can’t get ready for school. If you’re not home and if the switches are not turned off, electronic devices get damaged when the power comes back on.”
A Fenaka official from Addu city told the Maldives Independent that one generator had initially failed, leading to the other three failing.
The official said that two new generators were taken to Addu Wednesday night as an emergency fix.