Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Darkness visible

Guatemala uses around 1,300 megawatts of power daily and could potentially have saved 60 megawatts a day by switching to daylight savings time, as had been planned, but yesterday President Colom announced that this wouldn't be happening after all because it would mean too many people walking into work in the dark, and thus exposing themselves to crime.

My favourite time in Antigua is around first light (say 6am) when the streets start to fill with workers and pupils hurrying to their various destinations. It would indeed be a shame for this spectacle to be plunged into darkness for a measely 60 megawatts!

According to Rajiv Chandrasekaran the US pledged to deliver 6000 megawatts to Iraq when the occupation began but only managed around 4000 during Bremer's term: roughly equivalent to the power generated by Saddam under UN sanctions.

The dictator was smarter than the men that replaced him though because he had concentrated what he had on Baghdad. Beyond ensuring that their own secure area was powered up 24 hours a day, the Americans attempted to distribute electricity more equitably across the regions, which meant that the people immediately outside the Green Zone's walls were highly prone to anger-inducing black-outs.

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