CAIRO: Following the resurgence of power cuts in May, after a relative pause in April, a state of skepticism has surfaced among Egyptians over the ability of the government to contain this crisis.
According to Youm7, sources in the Ministry of Electricity said that the electricity requirements during May exceed 119 million cubic meters, while the Ministry of Petroleum has provided only 100 million cubic meters.
The sources added that the factories suffered from a gas shortage during the recent period, as the authorities have allocated large amounts of gas to power stations, in order to allow them to resume their activities.
Further, the government has faced mounting conflict over the use of coal to meet the energy needs in the light of the current crisis witnessed in the energy sector. Environmental experts expressed their refusal of the proposal due to its negative effects on the environment, health and even the economy.
Conversely, Deputy Chairperson of Federation of Egyptian Industries Tarik Tawfiq said that the use of coal could resolve 50 percent of the electricity crisis. He added, “The government is currently working to take the necessary measures to contain the fears over the repercussions of such a step.”
Tawfiq added in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper on April 29, “50 percent of developed countries use coal to generate energy.” He further claimed that Egypt’s carbon emission would increase from 2.5 percent to three percent if the government decides to use the coal, as it would only constitute six percent of the energy mix used in Egypt.
However, the Doctors’ Syndicate recently stated that 100 to 120 Egyptians out of every 100,000 would suffer from lung cancer as a side-effect of the use of coal, noting that lung cancer kills 4,488 people annually.
On the other hand, Sabah Ahmed Mashali, a senior official in Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity, stressed the need for developing the power station to contain the current crisis. She added that they need at least U.S. $4 billion to improve their performance during the upcoming period.
According to London-based Al-Hayat Newspaper, she said that the government needs to build new power stations to meet any surprise shortage in energy. She added, “We cover only the ordinary demand, but we cannot meet any emergency needs for electricity.”
She expected that the current crisis could reach its peak during July and August due to the excessive use of air conditioners, which strongly pressure the power stations.