600% increase in renewable energy prices hoped to bring investment: ministry
Solar Energy - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: The tariff for new and renewable energy proposed by the Ministry of Electricity to the Cabinet is 1 EGP ($0.14) per kilowatt, an official source at the Electricity and Consumer Protection Utility told Youm7 Wednesday.

The suggested price is nearly a 600 percent increase from the current price.

“The prime cost of a kilowatt of renewable energy is 55 piasters, and the New and Renewable Energy department of the Holding Company for Electricity [currently] sells it for 17.2 piasters, inflicting heavy financial losses on the department,” the source said, adding that this tariff “has made investors reluctant to invest in this field.”

“The new tariff would greatly contribute to solving the ongoing power crisis and blackouts in a short time; the private sector would rush to establish wind or solar energy power plants, [even] with a small profit margin,” the source said.

An official source at the National Electricity Grid Control Center told Youm7 that it cut off power on Tuesday to save 6,000 megawatts due to the lack of fuel operating the electricity grids. The saved megawatts on Monday were just slightly less, and the Ministry of Electricity appealed to citizens to “cooperate by rationalizing consumption” in a Monday statement.

Egypt suffers from major energy shortages, leading to rolling blackouts across the country. Many areas see multiple hour-long blackouts daily.

The Board of State Commissioners, a department of Egypt’s highest judicial body the State Council, recommended in a Tuesday report that the government commit to informing citizens of the timing and location of blackouts beforehand, MENA reported.

The report comes in response to a case filed by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information and the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights in June 2013, while former President Mohamed Morsi was still in office.

“The lawsuit aims at enforcing the right to knowledge, flow of and circulating information, and real public scrutiny. This would ensure consumers’ rights to public services, establish the rules of geographical justice, and pave the way to achieve justice through enforced judicial principles,” the Board of State Commissioners’ report stated.

The mass blackouts Monday and Tuesday, hours long in some places, caused anger and paralysis in some businesses across Egypt.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab summoned the minister of electricity and the minister of petroleum Tuesday evening to discuss the issue, official sources told Youm7.

Hospitals, police stations, prisons, security directorates, water and sanitation stations, ports, industrial zones, tourist attractions like the Egyptian Museum, tourist resorts like Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, and certain other locations are exempt from blackouts, Holding Company for Electricity head Gaber el-Desouki told Youm7 Tuesday.

However, spokesperson for the Ministry of Electricity Mohamed al-Yamani told ON TV Live Tuesday that the government only exempts public hospitals from blackouts, not private ones.

Yamani also said rising temperatures simultaneously reduce the efficiency of the grids and lead to increased consumption in homes, adding that the government is working on maintaining and upgrading electric grids.

Additional reporting by Rahma Ramadan.

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