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Major Electrical Power Disruption In Ahvaz As Temperatures Soar To 50 C

Citizens of Ahvaz gathering in front of Governorate building of Khuzestan in protest, February 13, 2017.

Ahvaz, the largest city in Iran’s oil producing province of Khuzestan, lost electrical power due to extremely high temperatures on Saturday. As temperatures reached above 50 degrees centigrade (122 Fahrenheit) and electricity use spiked up, an electrical substation caught fire, which caused a blackout.

The general manager of the city’s electricity authority announced on Sunday that they have made a temporary fix and only a small part of Ahvaz remains without power. But there are reports about electricity problems in other parts of the province.

The deputy head of Ahvaz fire department told the media, that it took four hours to extinguish the fire at the substation on Saturday evening.

Tasnim news agency reported that since Sunday morning parts of Abadan also have been without power. As of Sunday night, there were no reports that power has been restored.

The province’s emergency management authority has announced that office working hours will be only until 12:00 noon. Without electricity and air-conditioning, extremely high temperatures can be life threatening.

Last week, female students at a local university gathered to protest lack of air-conditioning in their dormitories, as authorities failed to fix the broken systems.

Last February, dust storms also disrupted water and electricity supplies in parts of Khuzestan and there were protests at the provincial governorate headquarters. Afterwards, the police chief of the province banned all kinds of gatherings in front of the governorate building.

A few weeks later, the government appropriated about $10 million to upgrade the utilities in the province. Some citizens ridiculed the relatively small amount of money for a region that produces most of Iran’s oil and gas.