Massive power outages in Iran urge a rare apology from the president

Tehran, Iran (AP) — Iran’s retired president apologizes for the most serious summer power outage in the country in recent memory as power outages crippled businesses and darkened homes for hours a day on Tuesday. Offered.

At a government meeting broadcast live on state television, President Hassan Rouhani admitted that chronic power outages over the past week had caused “a lot of pain” for Iranians and expressed resentment in an unusually personal speech. did.

“I apologize to my dear ones who faced these problems and pains,” he said.

Recently, regular power outages have spread turmoil and turmoil on the streets of the capital, Tehran and other cities, knocking out traffic lights, closing factories, disrupting telecommunications and affecting subway systems. Repeaters (devices around cities that enhance mobile phone signals) are out of order along with electronic cash registers.

Several towns in northern Iran have reported restricted access to water as power outages affected pipe supplies. Traffic police in the capital said the sudden power outage completely surprised officials.

The power outage gave Rouhani, a relatively moderate man who handed reins to hardline president-elect Ebrahim Raisi in August, one of the last domestic headaches of his presidency. Widely shared social media footage on internationally-based Persian news channels responds to power outages breaking into the open air, swelling into scattered protests and rallying on paralyzed streets at local utilities. Shows popular anger. In some videos, rebel chanting echoes from dark skyscrapers. The Associated Press was unable to verify the authenticity of the video.

Authorities have accused the country of power outages due to the suffocating heat, rising demand for electricity, and deepening droughts that could wipe out hydropower.

In Tehran and other major cities, temperatures exceed 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit). In the deserts of the southern part of the country, temperatures reached 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). As Iranians deploy rugged air conditioners against heat and overwhelm the power grid, it is driving electricity demand to new heights. Authorities responded with multiple scheduled power outages a day.

Electricity demand has recently peaked at 66,000 MW, exceeding the country’s actual power generation capacity of 65,000 MW. Enterprises can actually provide people with even less power, close to 55,000 megawatts. This is primarily because power plants are prone to repeated technical failures due to aging sanctioned electrical infrastructure.

Last month, Iran’s only nuclear power plant Received an unprecedented emergency shutdown.. The facility in the southern port city of Bushehr returned online over the weekend after engineers said it had repaired a broken generator.

Electrical equipment was not properly maintained and a shortage of spare parts complicated the construction of new plants to keep up with the country’s runaway growth. Over the last two decades, modest apartments and local markets have all turned into air-conditioned high-rise residential estates and huge shopping malls.

In Iran, power outages occur sporadically in the hot summer heat, but recent shortages of rainfall exacerbate the country’s electricity problems. Last year, precipitation fell by almost 50%, dams’ water supply fell, and fueled the country, Rouhani said. Hydropower has plummeted from an estimated average of 12,000 MW in recent years to 7,000 MW, Rouhani said.

“When it gets warm during the drought, we face problems during peak hours (energy demand),” Rouhani added. “(Power outages) have a serious impact on people, businesses, factories and hospitals.”

Authorities have suggested that any bailout is far away.

“This is not just one day,” said Mostafa Nakahai, a spokesman for the Iranian Energy Parliamentary Commission. “This situation will last for at least a month.”


Isabel DeBre, an Associated Press writer in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

Posted on