Controversy over switching to daylight saving
Energy saving light bulbs - REUTERS
By NOURHAN MAGDI

CAIRO: Controversy arose over the government’s decision to switch to the daylight saving time aiming to reduce electricity consumption amid the current energy crisis in Egypt.

Daylight saving time will be re-applied in Egypt staring May 15, according to the cabinet’s statement, after it was cancelled by a decree law issued in April 2011 under former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

“Given the economic circumstances in the country and the lack of energy resources prompted the Ministry of Electricity to create power cuts at the peak times to ease the load. The cabinet decided to apply daylight saving time starting May 15 to reduce electricity consumption,” the cabinet said in its Wednesday statement on its Facebook page.

Daylight saving time will be stalled during the holy month of Ramadan, which will begin late June this year, according to the statement.

Egypt witnessed frequent power outages in several governorates that can last for hours due to the decline of energy production.

This summer will witness “one of the worst fuel and energy shortages” in Egypt given the decline of energy production as consumption rates increase dramatically, a government source told Youm7 in February.

The decision to re-apply the daylight saving time prompted huge criticism by experts and activists claiming its inefficiency.

Professor of Petroleum and Mining at Azhar University Mohamed Reda told The Cairo Post Thursday that the decision is not issued by specialists and “will confuse workers, factories, and train flow.”

“The decision will not reduce power consumption at factories since workers are assigned to work about eight hours per shift anyway,” Reda said.

Maged Mohamed, 25, a journalist at Cairodar educating website told The Cairo Post that he rejects the decision, doubting that it would benefit the consumption of electricity.

Mohamed considered the previous decision to cancel the daylight saving time in 2011 and to adopt only one system in Egypt was a good decision, adding that the authorities should find other sources for energy to tackle the crisis such as solar energy.

“It would be better if they could off the public street lights, which are on during the day, instead of adopting daylight savings,” mass communication graduate Aya Ahmed, 24, told The Cairo Post. She criticized the decision which she saw “will not save power.”

A graduate of Tourism Faculty Beshoy Adeeb, 30, told The Cairo Post that he considers the decision as “beneficial and will reduce electricity consumption.”

Adeeb said the decision will prompt people to wake up early and “this will make them active.”

He further noted that other countries also adopt daylight saving time, such as Canada, to reduce power consumption.

Regarding the energy crisis, both presidential candidates had their own views to tackle the problem.

Presidential candidate Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’ platform suggested replacing regular light bulbs with high-efficiency ones to reduce consumption while the other presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi’s program suggested utilizing solar and wind energy in Egypt. The presidential elections are scheduled for May 26 and 27.

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