Fear of a dark summer intensifies as March power outages increase
Electricity Power station - YOUM7 (Archive)
By SARA TAREK

CAIRO: With summer fast approaching, the fear of power outages has returned to Egypt’s population amid increasing spells of darkness during the month of March, adding to speculation that power outages will last for longer periods and increase as fuel shortages remain an issue.
“We ask the new government to find solutions to the crisis because the Egyptian people are not able to carry anymore problems,” 40-year-old teacher Rasha Magdi told The Cairo Post, fearing that power outages will increase in the approaching months.

Power outages have become a notorious marker of summertime in governorates throughout Egypt as they appear on almost a daily basis for some households.

During Mohamed Morsi’s presidency, there was widespread criticism of his ruling as power outages increased during the summer of 2012 and thereafter. There were also widespread claims that Hisham Qandil’s government was smuggling electricity to Gaza, essentially worsening the problem.

Yet, while power outages were always a staple of the summertime, this winter they have increased, sparking concern that this summer’s power outages could be worse than ever before.

Hafez Salmawy, head of the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency, told The Cairo Post that the lack of fuel is the main cause of power outages taking place across the country, adding that the state is currently negotiating with some countries in order to provide fuel in the form of grants.

“Fuel imports will become a burden on the country’s economy, especially under the current circumstances and the lack of financial resources, which makes the idea of rationalizing consumption best suited to address this crisis,” he added.

The Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy is slated to work on reviewing electricity bill prices in relation to international prices, and are preparing to reformat some power plants to cope with next summer’s expected increase in demand.

The ministry also plans to rationalize consumption and increase the efficient use of energy, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker told Al-Hayah Al-Youm talk show on Sunday.

On March 1, sources told Youm7 that power cuts are expected to increase throughout the month of March as temperatures begin to rise.

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