Saturday, June 28, 2003

Power-Cuts… Again?

Ten years ago, Dalmatia was experiencing probably the worst summer in its post-WW2 history. Unlike previous two war years, people had to endure almost entire summer without electricity. It was thanks to Krajina Serb forces who had blown up Peruča (Peruca) dam before it was taken by Croatian forces in January 1993 offensive. Thankfully, the damage on the dam was limited and the mass tidal wave that could have devastated cities of Sinj, Omiš and other settlements of Cetina Valley was avoided. But the damaged dam began to leak and major water reservoir was soon emptied, which had debilitating effects on hydro plants in Dalmatia. Since Dalmatia had been cut off from the rest of Croatia, its power grid had to rely on local hydro plants. In 1991 and 1992 the disaster was averted due to Bosnian power grid coming to rescue. In 1993 "misunderstandings" between Izetbegović's (Izetbegovic's) Muslim government and Tudjman's Bosnian Croat followers denied that power source for Dalmatia. As a result, people of Dalmatia experienced the darkest days since the time electricity came to this part of the world; power-cuts were massive and most unpleasant, and people often had to rely on only three hours of power per day.

I'm reminded of those dark times when I hear of Baghdad people's electricity woes, but I'm also reminded of that every time I walk down the street and start noticing increasing number of air-conditioners being set up in people's houses and private apartments. I began to wonder what would air-conditioners do to Dalmatian power grid during long summer droughts when the water reservoirs are likely to get very empty and hydro plants are likely to work with decreased capacity. Then again, I had air-conditioner installed myself and I too could be blamed for future unpleasantness.


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