RIM (Rovens Independent Media)
Release: Wednesday, June 26th, 302 AP.

Rovens plunged into darkness

Rovens electricity grid collapsed on Tuesday evening and engineers have been
struggling to return the south-east of the country into the fourth century.

On Tuesday evening, just as some six million Rovenians in the south-east of the
country were sitting down to enjoy an evening of television or other
entertainment at 8:41pm, the lights went out. As people searched for torches
and candles, they also ventured outside to see the extent of the problem, only
to find the entire region blacked out.

At 8:36pm, a substation that keeps the power running from the power stations in
the region to the cities and towns developed a fault and shut-down. No matter,
thought the engineers, the back-up with take over. Unfortunately, the back-up
would fail five minutes later, plunging the entire region into a dismal inky
blackness, and prompted a significant rise in petty crime, say Police.

The Rovens Electricity Commission (REC), which operates the country's
electricity grid, declared the fault an "unavoidable accident", but several
government MNAs are declaring it a "disaster waiting to happen".

Maintenance has not been performed on the Hoogeveen sub-station back-up system
for years, claims David Meyer of the National Assembly, and the black-out was
"only a matter of time". How would Meyer know? He worked as an engineer for
the REC.

However, the member for the right-wing Democratic Union Party was not so
scathing of the government as the REC organisation. He claimed they had known
for years of the country's "reliance on a small number of weak points".

While power was restored by midday today, it is at reduced capacity, leaving
several outlying towns without or with limited power. Police and council
workers have been tasked with keeping loads down, meaning no heavy machinery.

Government and REC engineers investigating the causes of the accident have
remained tight-lipped about their findings. To the person on the street,
though, the accident is symptomatic of the country's woes.

"Government spending has been slashed, there is no money for new power
stations, no money for enough people to keep it all running", says 64 year-old
Clara Dekkers, "This was inevitable. We cannot expect everything to keep
running when there is no money anywhere."

©RIM, 301 AP.
RIM is a division of the Zeitgeist Corporation.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)