Enemalta’s failure to guarantee a non-repeat of last week’s total power failure across the island has sparked a frenzy in sales and hiring of electricity generators.
Leading local importers and distributors of such heavy plant, have told Business Today that since last Tuesday’s power cut they were inundated with urgent requests for the supply of electrical generators.
A spokesman for Attrans Commercials Limited explained that the company has handled almost 300 enquires coming from both small and big businesses.
With prices ranging approximately from €6,000 to €100,000 electricity generators have become a major concern for businesses who seek peace of mind for their operation to continue.
Investing in an electrical generator has today become an essential part of business, as confirmed last week, when estimates for the nationwide blackout were quoted to have cost the Maltese economy between €8 to €10 million.
However, the worst nightmare for businesses is not only the lack of guarantees by Enemalta that such power supply failures will not happen again, but as major industry and tourism operators face the already struggling economic reality, another shut down in power will mean a further heavy blow to their efforts to keep afloat.
Light Sound & Vision and AFS Limited, another two major suppliers of electric generators have also reported a dramatic increase in requests for generators by the market.
The matter becomes even more preoccupying for the business sector when media reports yesterday revealed that the Investments Minister, Austin Gatt was “unperturbed by the Prime Minister’s apparently contrasting view of what might have caused last week’s major power cut.”
Last Sunday, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said in an interview that he was surprised by the “series of coincidences” that surrounded the disruption in electricity supply. His suspicions were in contrast to Austin Gatt’s parliamentary statement in which he effectively ruled out foul play.
Speaking again to the media, after the Prime Minister commented on the power cut, Austin Gatt was reported as saying: “Maybe I was a bit more cautious. However, the Prime Minister could do it since at this stage the fault could be purely technical or sabotage. It is the technical investigation that will tell us what happened.”
The investigation by Enemalta’s senior engineers is expected to be completed by next Friday and sources say that it is also probable that an extension of time will be requested by the experts in order to be able to complete the report in good time.
While Enemalta insists that it has sufficient reserve capacity to meet the summer demand, the corporation’s Generation Plan report published in 2006 had indicated the lack of spare capacity as a “weakness” that may have serious consequences as from this summer.
Meanwhile, local insurance companies have also reported a number of claims that have reached them from businesses who suffered alleged damages due to the power failure last week.
According to insurance experts the reported damages were not as high as expected due to the fact that many had intelligently invested in surge protectors, however many claims have poured in from stock importers, who threw away quantities of meat or refrigerated supplies.