First, he rejected Yugoslavia, then the Soviet Union, then
Naturally, maintaining this ideological purity was not without its difficulties. Dependence on others always risked the possibility of compromise so, as far as possible, Hoxha tried to make
Energy was obviously key to the plan and despite an unfortunate lack of coal, oil or gas, the communists decide to utilise something
Sadly, following the collapse of communism, someone forgot to service the electricity generating system. So, as
And so today, like most days for the last few weeks the city has been without power for 12 to 15 hours. Of course, we are sheltered from the effects of this with our generator and water storage tank. But for most of the population the power goes off at 7.30am and comes on again at 4.00pm. Even then it is not continuous with two hour rolling power cuts across the city. Meanwhile, in some parts of the country power is out for up to 18 hours a day.
Pulling The Plug
Needless to say the old government has blamed the new government and the new government has blamed the old government. In this land of conspiracy the most outrageous – but nonetheless believable – accusation is that outgoing government deliberately drained the main lake supplying water for the system in order to create a crisis for the new government.
In the meantime, our indian summer has passed. It has turned wet and cold and the ordinary people of Tirana are living in poorly built houses that hold little of the heat that they manage to generate in the few hours that the electricity is on. And, despite the rain, they have little or no water since the pumps stop working when the power goes off.
In the local shops and cafes owners struggle to keep going. Candles provide light for some. Others have bought generators – but these are expensive, increasingly so, as is the fuel for them. Grocery stores with refrigeration units are a real hazard since chilled produce warms and chills, re-warms and re-chills to the rhythm of the power cuts. We avoid those shops that have no generators; the locals have fewer choices. Pity especially the little bakeries. No power – no bread. No bread – no business.
Meanwhile the government spends what little money
So when you are taking your next hot shower and leaving lights on all over the house, say a little prayer for the good folks of Tirana.