Businesses and homes alike in the Iranian city of Tehran—along with several other cities—are in the dark—and in the cold–on Monday, the spokesman for the Iran Electrical Power Industry, Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, said on Monday while the country runs short of natural gas, according to RadioFarda.
The cause of the blackouts are unknown and have led to speculation.
When power cuts make the rounds in Iran, it’s not often that it happens during the cold winter months. Tehran, too, is rarely included in power cuts or blackouts when they happen, because of security reasons.
But Tehran is not exempt this time around.
The emergency power cuts, which were not announced ahead of time, will be for two hours per day and will be carried out in the big cities, unless domestic gas use is cut by 10%.
The power outages, along with being atypical for this time of year and extending to atypical Tehran, are suspect, according to RadioFarda, in that natural gas consumption in Iran—which is between 600 million cubic meters per day and 690 million cubic meters per day—is under the 800 million cubic meters of gas Iran is supposedly producing.
Other oddities about the power cuts include the fact that Iran has been unable to get rid of some of its lower quality fuel oil that it normally sends to Iraq. This means its own power plants had to burn in recent months this lower-quality, higher-polluting fuel oil that it couldn’t sell.
This has led to some speculating that power cuts have an ulterior motive: to root out the cases of massive cyberattacks that have ripped through Iran’s infrastructure since earlier this month. Some have suspicions that the source of the attacks were inside Iran.
Other suspicions are that cyberattacks are behind the power outages, according to RadioFarda.