To the Ministry of Electricity [Archives:2007/1103/Community]

November 19 2007

By: Maged Thabet Al-Kholidy
[email protected]

Immeasurable benefits are offered to the entire world daily by electricity and even its absence through cutoffs provides other services. No one denies its importance, even those living in villages and undeveloped areas unreachable by the ministry's curse – I'm sorry, its mercy.

However, I wonder if anyone takes into account the benefits the Ministry of Electricity offers when it cuts off the power. In two hours, or sometimes more, it actually does provide citizens with additional services.

This matter took some thinking when the sound of children both outside and inside the home, together with the evening darkness, announced the cutting of power at a time when everything is completely electrified. That is to say, almost all lights are on, guests are interested in watching television, while heated discussions about politics are going on, especially after passing by news channels like Al-Jazeera or Al-Arabia.

At least one person is interested in checking his computer folders, from which emit clamorous songs especially for qat gatherings, while another is fighting with the mobile charger, claiming that he is expecting some very important calls.

Noise from televisions and children comes from the other rooms and neighboring houses too. Worse still, there's loud music from a band at a nearby wedding hall, which seems to be playing for all of the area's residents, and for that, its owner is happy, thinking that he is doing them a service. Many other things are electrical, such as washing machines, heaters, Play Stations, etc.

For this, we as permanent customers of the ministry do feel gratitude and it is necessary to thank it officially and pay for this regular service.

In a blink, it had ended all of the surrounding electrified disturbance as silence and peace of mind suddenly blanketed the entire area. No longer were there televisions, no computer, no musical band or any type of disturbance. Even the children calmed down. In return, no more than two candles offered sufficient light to the entire place, causing the situation to become quite romantic.

It brought to my mind a birthday party I attended, but one with a big-cheeked qat chew rather than cakes, sweets and juice. Everyone then went into their own “Suleimaniah hour,” during which I began listing the benefits we receive from such electrical power cuts.

Having listed these advantages, I discovered it a good thing for the ministry to be paid as thanks for the benefits it provides customers through this continuing habit. From an economic and financial perspective, it's a moneymaking project for the Yemeni government in general and for the Ministry of Electricity in particular.

Under a new project, the ministry will affix meters and issue special bills for these cutoff hours; however, such meters must be able to run on batteries, candles or something else, as there will be no electricity. I think the price of silence and calmness must be higher than the price of electricity because no generators or other machinery that can offer such silence.

Customers actually are happy when the electricity is off because their normal meters are off, which lowers the monthly bill in the end. However, this negatively affects the ministry's income. Because of this, it loses money every month and this is the reason for its failure to make any new improvements or extensions of its current status.

What astonished me even more was when a friend of mine used a candle to light his cigarette. I realized that he no longer needed to buy and carry a box of matches or a lighter. In addition to saving money, citizens will save their effort of keeping a lighter or a box of matches, which may cause a fire if children play with it.

I felt relaxed because it was evening, the time when one wants to be with family. I don't think anyone really is bothered by electricity cuts, since it warns guests of the time to leave.

This could be exploited further as a new source of income for the ministry by making contracts with those who have guests regularly. In such contract, the ministry would pledge to cut the power at a time suitable to such individuals so that it will remind their guests of the time to leave.

have listed only these benefits, although there may be many others. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Electricity gains nothing, while it spends much for programs, machinery and employees especially to provide customers this cutoff service.

In contrasting such benefits with what customers pay for, I found that two candles cost only YR 20; thus, the ministry should study the feasibility of this project, which I hope it will begin soon for sake of the public's interest.

Last, I want to stress this project's exclusivity to the Ministry of Electricity, as there's no need for other ministries to include it in their future plans.

This is the status of electricity in our happy Yemen. Since Yemen is happy, as it is claimed, there's no need for any new projects.

I sincerely hope the above suggestion will not be taken into account. Additionally, there's no need to ask the relevant authorities to look at it through their mind's eye, as I usually say.