Power Outage Developments: From Scattered to Regular

Preparing the previous issue of this newsletter, I was discussing few topics with a friend of mine.

“What about the scattered power outages?” suggested he.

“Have you experienced it yourself?” I asked him.

“Not yet”, he replied.

“Then let’s wait until it becomes ‘regular’ instead of ‘scattered’”, I added.

We both laughed and we chose another topic.

It was only a day after, that the power outage not only became “regular”, but having power was almost “abnormal”.

Over the last week, in several districts of Tehran, we had power for an hour and then not for a couple of hours and the cycle repeated all day long.

In Farsi language when the power outage happens we say: “The power is gone”.

All of a sudden, the power outage became so often, that people ironically quoted the Minister of Power saying: “From now on, the power will never go anymore. Instead, once in the while it will come”!!!

Well, apart from the jokes, the authorities started to give various reasons for the outage.

Some old power plants with no regular upgrades over the years due to sanctions, is one of the main scenarios.

The main power in Iran, i.e. more than 80%, is produced by the thermal power plants. However, these plants are quite inefficient, and their efficiency is not more than 37%. Renewing these old plants to Combined cycle power plants, the efficiency could reach 50%.

Too little rain this year and the hot weather has made it difficult to get enough power from hydroelectric power plants as well.

According to the Ministry of Power, the water at hydroelectric dams this year has been 40% less than a year ago. Already the last year, the power generated from the hydroelectric plants, was reduced by 29%.

In addition to these problems, Iran has not been able to reach its goals set to increase the power generation.

For the Iranian year of 1399, the country was supposed to increase its power generation capacities by 4800 Megawatts; where less than 40% was realized.

Not meeting the production goals, the demand is also increasing at a fast pace.

Although the government claims that the main increase is coming from the households, numbers tell another story. The household consumption has been up only by 2.6% and they only consume a third of the electricity.

 The rest goes to the industry. Parallel to all the traditional industries, a new field is demanding too much power: “mining Bitcoins”.

According to Elliptic, a blockchain analytics company, globally 4.5 percent of Bitcoins are mined in Iran.

This week, the Ministry of Power said that nearly 220 illegal centers for mining bitcoin has been discovered and closed. Their consumption is estimated to be equivalent to 60,000 households.

But many believe that this is nothing compared to the mines still in operation.

President Rouhani has issued a ban on mining cryptocurrencies at any center until the end of the summer.

Well, for the past few days, at least in the Capital we experienced no outage. Whether it had to do with the temperature which got mildly cooler or we are getting closed to the election, we cannot tell.

But we don’t risk and before the power goes off again, we finish this issue!

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