by Hana Namrouqa | Jul 25, 2012

AMMAN — The Ministry of Water and Irrigation’s headquarters in Shmeisani remained without power on Wednesday for the second day in a row, after the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) cut off electricity due to unpaid bills.

The ministry’s offices and corridors were dark and the usually bustling customers’ services hall at the Water Authority of Jordan was empty.

“We powered electricity generators to keep a few main offices and vital systems running, but we are unable to complete work as we should,” a source at the ministry told The Jordan Times.

NEPCO cut off electricity from the premises on Tuesday morning just as employees were entering their offices because the ministry had failed to pay over JD7 million in dues.

“Negotiations are under way to accelerate providing the ministry with the loan it requested from the Social Security Corporation (SSC) to pay its dues to NEPCO and other institutions,” underscored the source, who asked not to be named.

Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar said in statements to the press last month that the ministry had asked the SSC for a JD50 million loan to pay its dues to NEPCO, the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company, contractors, suppliers and consultants.

A source at the SSC said on Tuesday that the loan had been approved last month but was still being processed.

The power outage has affected the ministry’s performance, the source highlighted.

“We are unable to contact our departments across the governorates and the ministry’s call centre, established to receive water complaints, is not operational,” the source said.

An operator at the call centre said that the power cut was preventing the centre from directing water complaints to the concerned departments for follow-up.

“We are receiving phone calls from people complaining about water cuts, but we are unable to send them to the concerned person to solve the problem,” the operator told The Jordan Times.