Explosions at electricity towers during Ramadan cause 223m EGP loss
Electricity Holding Company head Gaber Desouki - YOUM7/Sami Waheeb

CAIRO: Six explosions to electrical towers during Ramadan led to a total loss of around  223 million EGP ($31 million USD), Electricity Holding Company head Gaber Desouki told Youm7 Sunday.

The explosions, which Desouki termed “terrorist bombings,” occurred amid Egypt’s ongoing power crisis which continued into Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims.

The latest explosion occurred Saturday evening at an electricity tower near Kafr el-Zayat in Gharbiya governorate, leading to the collapse of the tower.

The cost of repairing the tower, one of the tallest in the national network, may reach 3 million EGP and could take up to 45 days, Desouki said.

Al-Ahram reported that the tower’s collapse halted output of two lines from Abu Keir power station, totaling 1300 megawatts. A governmental official told Al-Masry al-Youm that the tower explosion caused power outage in a number of cities in Kafr el-Zayat and Beheira.

Desouki said the holding company is working to provide alternative cables to feed the affected areas until maintenance work is complete.

“It is difficult to fully secure electricity towers placed in desert areas,” Desouki said. There are 140,000 electricity towers across the country.

Ahmed el-Hanafy, head of the Egyptian Company to transfer electricity, said the Ministry of Electricity’s losses are estimated at 223 million EGP. The cost of repairing of the damaged towers is 23 million EGP ($3 million USD), with the other 200 million lost due to not transferring power to consumers because of the damage.

In a previous statement, Desouki said there would be an expected breakthrough in the power outage crisis during the three days of Eid al-Fitr, or the Feast of Breaking the Fast, which began Monday. Expected electricity loads on the company during peak hours will not exceed 23,000 megawatts, he said, which “will not prompt the national control center to cut the power to lessen the loads.”

Citizens witnessed extensive power outages during Ramadan, with power cuts for several hours on a daily basis throughout Egypt. Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker announced a decision to increase the price of electricity during July, sparking negative reactions from the citizens.

Egypt has been suffering a power crisis for more than a year. The situation has not improved under President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and the Ministry of Electricity cuts power frequently to reduce the load on electrical networks.

Additional reporting by Rahma Ramadan.

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