By Tom Westcott and Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 23 July 2013:
Tripoli residents, angered by more than 16 hours without electricity, have blockaded . . .[restrict]a major junction until their power is restored.
Makeshift roadblocks have been in place since early this morning at the Ras Hassan junction between Ben Ashur and Ras Hassan. Handwritten signs complained of 16-hour outages and said all the frozen meat bought for Ramadan had defrosted and gone rotten.
“The road is blocked until the electricity comes back on,” another sign read.
Officials and engineers from the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) arrived at Ben Ashur at around 12.30 pm to investigate the problem.
One engineer told the Libya Herald that the Ben Ashur power substation was not working because of a power surge. This, he said, happened after the electricity was switched back on following a “normal” three-hour power cut.
The power surge damaged equipment, causing another, longer outage.
“This happens all the time and could happen in any area,” the engineer said. He added that the problem was now being fixed.
Most shops in the area were closed this morning, unable to function without electricity. A few mechanics sat in the doorways of their darkened workshops, waiting for the electricity to return.
The nearby Swiss-Libyan medical centre was fully-functioning, running lifts, air-conditioning and vital medical equipment off its own generator. Medical Director Mohamed Roujbani told the Libya Herald that power cuts in the area seemed to be much worse than this time last year.