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Enemalta Refuses To Disclose Power Cut Logs For Major Blackout On Political Bloodbath Day

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Enemalta is refusing to disclose logs that would show the cause of a major national blackout that hit Malta on a day of political chaos.

On 26th November 2019, Malta was in the midst of an unprecedented political crisis.

Yorgen Fenech had just been arrested on suspicion of masterminding the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and he had started implicating then OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.

Within a few hours, Schembri had resigned from his job, Konrad Mizzi had resigned as Tourism Minister and Chris Cardona had suspended himself as Economy Minister.

And as anger mounted and protests were organised, most of Malta was plunged into complete darkness. Back then, Enemalta said the power cut was the result of problems at the Ragusa end of the Malta-Sicily interconnector.

However, they refused a Freedom of Information request filed by Lovin Malta to obtain a copy of the logs from its SCADA system, which registers all power cuts and their causes.

“We regret to inform you that your request/complaint cannot be met because: by virtue of Part V or Part VI, there is good reason for withholding the document requested,” Enemalta said.

“Kindly note that the requested information cannot be provided as it is of a highly technical and sensitive nature, relating to both the business affairs of Enemalta and national security, due to detailed confidential information on critical infrastructure.”

An informed source told Lovin Malta that Enemalta’s argument in favour of keeping the information secret was “strange”, seeing as it simply pertains to the official cause of a major power cut.

“Enemalta has a control room from where you can switch on and off anywhere in Malta but you need to log whenever you do so, and in the case of a blackout the operations engineer on duty would have to submit a report.”

They argued that, as Enemalta is the country’s sole electricity service provider, the disclosure of this information cannot be seen as impinging on its business affairs. Indeed, Enemalta submits SCADA reports as evidence when people open a claim against them. 

Lovin Malta has asked for this decision to be reviewed internally as per FOI procedure and has filed a second FOI asking for the operations engineer’s report on the blackout.

Cover photo: Left: Enemalta plc, Right: One of the protests during the 2019 Maltese political crisis

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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