There are occasional electricity spikes. About 3 weeks after we arrived here, I found that one of the mains adapters on one of my Apple MacBook pros had blown completely, the fuse had blown in the mains adapter for our second MacBook Pro, and the mains adapter for one of our iPods also blew completely.
I had to drive 90 minutes to Dubai to buy a new mains adapter from iStyle, an Apple dealer in the Dubai Mall, at a cost of about £85. It also took me about 2 hours to find a 3-amp fuse in the centre of Al Ain, as most fuses are 13 amps here. The thing is, I had bought a surge protector for one of my laptops from the local Lulu hypermarket, but it was unusable.
Here’s why: if the voltage coming into the protector is more than 250 V or less than 230 V (or thereabouts) the surge protector doesn’t allow any electricity to flow through the laptop adapter. But what I found was the surge protector was cutting in for several hours a day which meant that the laptop was running off the battery for most of the time. So the surge protector was unusable. Thankfully we have had no main surges sufficient to blow any fuses or adapters since that time in September 2009.
As of writing, the electricity supply seems a lot better: my wife does the occasional 30 minutes of ironing every few days. Our iron, bought locally, comes with a 2-pin plug. All the sockets are 3-pin ones! We have a number of 2-to-3-pin adapters, but the iron’s plug falls out of these (!). However the surge protector has a tighter grip, so she is using this device regularly and says at the moment she’s always getting current coming through it. It looks like it’s time for me to start using it again on my everyday Apple MacBook Pro!
Update: my friend Jake has told me that his internet radio and the mains charger on his Mac laptop blew recently, and it cost him 500AED plus a trip to Dubai to get a replacement.