Syria has a daily shortfall of up to 1,000 megawatts (MW) in its electricity supplies, official daily Ath Thawra reported on Sunday, and this has led to power cuts sometimes lasting several hours.
The deficit is forecast to remain around 1,000 MW next year, rising to 1,400 MW in 2011 and 1,800 MW in 2012, the newspaper said.
Ath Thawra publishes a daily notice telling people in the capital Damascus and surrounding areas when state company Public Establishment for Electricity Generation and Transmission will cut power — normally two hours in the morning and two in the evening.
Electricity ministry figures cited by the paper show Syria’s power generating capacity is officially 7,188 MW, while peak demand from the country’s 22 million people is around 6,500 MW.
“But power stations have a lower output (by as much as 20 percent) because of the age of some production units and heatwaves,” Ath Thawra said.
The shortfall is being aggravated by growing demand because of Syria’s high birth rate and also because of US-imposed sanctions in place since 2004, the report said.
These have prevented major international companies from building new power plants in Syria.
US Middle East envoy George Mitchell told President Bashar al-Assad last month that Washington will seek sanctions waivers in order to export aircraft and other equipment to Syria.
But US officials said the move did not signify any lifting or easing of the sanctions, which were aimed at making the government change its regional policy.