Dubai Mall power cut: How to prevent similar accidents

April 30, 2017 12:10 pm

The Dubai Mall was plunged into darkness on April 24 for two hours after a power outage.

The cut began at approximately 7.15pm and videos and images on social media showed shoppers using mobile phones to move around in the mall.

Several senior officials, including Saeed Al Tayer, DEWA Managing Director and CEO, and Abdullah Al Marri, Dubai Police Chief, were onsite to oversee operations to restore power at the mall.

What caused the outage?

In a brief statement, the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) said that the outage was caused due to “the transfer of high-voltage cables from Dubai Mall substation”.

The statement said: “DEWA and Emaar [which owns and operates Dubai Mall] had previously agreed to transfer the cables. During the transfer, the outage occurred, because one line went out of service. DEWA’s technicians have fully restored the power to normal service. The supply of electricity and water to the rest of the area was not affected.”

Authorities take action

DEWA has formed a new committee to implement plans for back-up power generators at major buildings and landmarks in the emirate following last week’s power outage at Dubai Mall.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, later ordered that back-up generators be introduced at major sites by real estate developers, companies and other relevant stakeholders after reviewing the incident.

In a statement covered by Dubai Media Office on Saturday, DEWA MD and CEO HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said the company had sent a circular requiring the installation of the generators at tourist, commercial and cultural buildings.

This is to ensure that these places have the necessary power in emergencies for public security and safety reasons, while also ensuring the comfort and well-being of the public at large.

The capacity of the generators should be sufficient to cover lighting, elevators, escalators, automatic doors, surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and fire and safety equipment, the statement said.

The circular also highlights best practices like maintaining generators to ensure that they will work efficiently when needed.

Al Tayer said: “We value the decision made by Sheikh Mohammad to require real estate developers and companies to install back-up generators at major projects in Dubai. This important decision will benefit all stakeholders, as it will help avoid electricity interruptions that might occur due to any malfunctions in major developments and tourist, commercial, and cultural buildings, ensuring work is not interrupted at these buildings.”

7 tips to prevent power outages

Depending on the root cause of the blackout, restoring power is often a complex task and repair timeframes depend on the extent of the damage to the affected electrical network.

Although DEWA and other government authorities are fully equipped to deal with power losses at large venues, here are some tips for companies looking to avoid similar incidents:

1.Ensure that all equipment that is used in your electrical installation is composed of good quality materials and meets the correct specification for your application. The initial installation costs may be higher than those of a system made with cheaper materials, but savings made in avoiding potential losses caused by short circuits and maintenance can be substantial.

2. Wires should always be of the highest quality and of the correct gauge for your application.

3. Wires and other electrical circuits should not be overloaded. Electrical overload leads to overheating, causing the insulation to break down, which can lead to a short circuit.

4. Pumps, pistons, rotors and other moving parts of an electric motor should be regularly serviced and checked to ensure that there is no jamming.

5. High quality fuses, circuit breakers, and other overload protection devices should be installed so that power can be immediately disconnected in the event of a short circuit, preventing damage to sensitive equipment.

6. When utilising circuit breakers, it is also important to select circuit breakers of appropriate rating.

7. Water is a frequent cause of short circuits. It should be ensured that all exposed circuits are kept covered and protected from moisture.


Hina Latif
By Hina Latif
Hina Latif has over six years of media and publishing experience under her belt, spanning multiple magazines and a newspaper in the UAE. She studied creative writing at the University of Oxford and has a Master’s degree in Journalism.