Work less, sweat less
Kuwaiti MPs call for shorter working hours to save power.
Kuwaiti members of parliament approved a recommendation to shorten summer working hours to save electricity, as the emirate grappled with record heat and a major power crisis.
The non-binding recommendation followed an emergency parliamentary session to discuss the power crisis, and called for working hours of government employees to be changed from the present 7:30 until 14:30 to 7:00 until noon, the AFP newswire reports.
The recommendation comes in the wake of soaring temperatures almost led to power cuts in the oil-rich OPEC member. Temperatures rose to 52 degrees Celsius, the highest in more than 30 years.
Parliament also called in a senior government minister to provide explanations. Bader Al-Shreiaan, minister of electricity and water, told MPs the government would be tackling the problem by putting in short-term measures to reduce power load during the summer, and would be looking to improve long-term power production, reports KUNA News.
He said the ministry had installed equipment to raise the efficiency of power stations that bore the brunt of the rising demand.
Maintenance of power lines was also being increased to reduce the effect of weather changes and humidity on conductivity, the minister said.
Government officials said the power crisis was due to mistakes accumulated since 1988, when Kuwait built its last power plant despite an eight percent annual rise in electricity demand.
The emirate is now working to put things right. In September 2009, Kuwait signed a US$2.7 billion deal with US and Korean firms to build a 2,000MW power plant that is due to come online next summer and be fully operational by mid-2012.
Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmad al-Sabah said at the time that Kuwait aims to double power capacity to more than 20,000MW during the next five years.
Last month, Kuwait's parliament passed a law to set up shareholding companies to build new power and water desalination plants in the first privatisation of the sector.
The wealthy Gulf emirate, which operates a cradle-to-grave welfare policy for Kuwaiti nationals, sells power at highly subsidised rates to its 1.1 million citizens and 2.35 million foreign residents.