Shawarmanoics isnt’ the only economic problem these days. Doesn’t it seem that we’re always in an energy crisis of some sort? Well the country seems to be out of natural gas lately and bad news never had good timing as it’s not even the middle of winter. To give you a somewhat realistic projection of the current crisis, the demand on a daily basis is about three times what is available and/or produced, which is currently at the highest capacity possible.
The source of the problem? Many many sources all of them valid and all of them play a role. First off we had quite a long holiday as Dave recently pointed out. This meant a lot of people stayed home and therefore heating and cooking consumption went through the roof. Secondly, we have a million Iraqis in Amman and 3,000 on average arrive everyday; you can calculate the amount of heating required yourself. Third of all kerosene has dramatically risen and therefore many people are switching to the standard gas heater or “souba” that uses gas tanks.
Fourth of all, the government. It’s one thing that there was no warning of the latest snowfall but it’s another to not be able to tell that January is a cold month, that they’ve just issued one of the longest recorded holidays in Jordan’s history, as well as the highest population in recent years. Take all that and subtract from the number of natural gas reserves you have and that should give some reason for the government to issue warnings for people to conserve energy. It’s not a policy that involves rocket science; although technically rocket science does require fuel and what not. Ayman Safadi pointed out some government failures in his recent column in Al-Ghad newspaper.
The point is there were a lot of factors to our current crisis.
Now amateur economic analysis aside here’s what it looks like on the ground (and I can finally say this because I live in Jordan now)…
In Jordan gas tanks are distributed in old pickup trucks that play annoying music as they pass by your neighborhood.
So dear distributors: if you’re out of gas because of this crisis then stop driving through the streets and playing the damn music. There’s no reason that I should have to wave you down while your driving by at 30 km/h only to be told that you’re all out!
And dear citizens, upon realizing that this is a gas crisis this is not a reason to go out and buy more tanks. There are people in this country who cannot afford to do that.
And when the gas man refuses to sell you one it does not mean you should get into a physical brawl with the guy. According to an article in today’s Al-Ghad these guys have actually been beaten up by citizens because they refused to sell or replace the tanks.
Lastly, please my dear citizens, stop leaving these heaters “soubas” on all night. Especially if you have a family of 8 and you all sleep in the same small room and keep the doors and windows shut tight. These last few days during Eid 7 people have died including 3 kids. According to a recent report 2005 saw 571 people injured and 14 dead from suffocation due to this specific situation alone.
You don’t need public service announcements on TV all the time and in the papers warning you to not do it. It’s the 21st century, if you don’t know that gas build up in a closed space can limit your oxygen intake then I’m not so sure you deserve to live.
It’s a death sentence waiting to happen.