THERE will be no power cuts in the Balearics this summer, according to Josep Joan Cardona, the Balearic minister of commerce, industry and energy, speaking after a meeting of the committee set up to keep an eye on energy supply and demand. He said that the electricity network in the Balearics would be able to meet peak demands throughout the summer, and pointed out that Gesa-Endesa, the power company, has spent 300 million euros over the past year, to make the improvements needed to guarantee supplies. He said that residents could rest easy, as there would be no black outs this summer. But he did call on people to exercise “responsible consumption” to avoid the risk of power failures. Cardona said that despite the “good state” of the energy and distribution network in the Balearics, the government plans to take further steps to ensure that there will be no black outs. This will include telephone calls to people living in areas where there is a risk of power failure, asking them to collaborate to prevent “a critical situation.” In these cases government departments and town councils will also help by putting out the floodlighting used to illuminate the façades of buildings at night time. Cardona said that the emergencies centre was equipped to make more than 7'000 telephone calls in an hour.
He insisted, however, that the network was capable of absorbing peak demands, although he said that there were still some problematical areas such as the north of Ibiza and Majorca. His comments will be welcomed in Alaro, where an overload on Tuesday caused problems in 15 flats and gave one woman an electric shock, although she was not seriously hurt. It took Gesa nine hours to repair the fault. A spokesman later said that it was caused by a lorry which was asphalting the street and hit one of the cables. Last year, the entire island suffered a blackout which lasted for more than six hours at the end of July, when demand broke the record for the eighth time that month. And just one day after service was restored, demand rose yet again. So despite Cardona's assurances, bar and restaurant owners, who lost a lot of stock and custom on that occasion, are still a little sceptical.
The traders in the Calle San Miguel are happy, however, because yesterday, Gesa backed down on its decision to cut electricity in the San Miguel area of Palma between 10am and 1.30pm in order to carry out repairs. The power cut lasted just half an hour instead. The traders association had slammed the decision to cut power for an entire morning as “inacceptable” because of the effect it would have had on sales.


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