Power outage across Saudi’s Mecca region sparks outrage

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A lengthy power outage on Friday left residents of towns and villages in multiple governorates of the Mecca region in Saudi Arabia sitting in the shadows, the Saudi Gazette reported.

Lasting almost 24 hours, the power outage started at 1 p.m. local time, forcing many residents to seek temporary shelters. Outrage at the power cut has left several residents intending to sue for damages.

Abdolmoein al-Sheikh, head of the electricity company in the western sector, told the Saudi Gazette that the incident marks a first in the history of the company. "Never before had such large generators failed," he said.

The power supply has been restored to the region by connecting the Khulais governorate to the main electricity grid and installing 50 temporary generators.

At the time of the power failure, the two main generators were only operating at 20 percent capacity. "These facts suggest that overload or poor maintenance were not the real culprits. Bad weather is likely responsible," Sheikh said.

The electricity company said that at the early stages of investigation, indicators suggest that thunderstorms that have recently hit the region may be responsible.

Mecca Emir Prince Khaled al-Faisal has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

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