CAIRO: A sudden, massive power cut struck across Egypt’s governorates Thursday morning, causing disruptions in Metro train service, forcing a number of television channels to stop broadcasting and shutting down at least six water treatment plants.
Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker said in statements to ONTV channel Thursday that the power cut was not due to any kind of “destructive” acts, and was instead the result of a technical malfunction, Youm7 reported.
A statement by the Electricity Ministry said a malfunction occurred in the electricity network in East Cairo, which caused a chain reaction in the power grid.
A number of power stations in 6 October City and South Cairo were shut down following the technical malfunction, which in turn caused nationwide blackouts.
Ministry of Electricity spokesman Mohamed el-Yamani told Youm7 that electricity would be restored as soon as possible, with priority given to hospitals.
Media outlets reported today’s blackout as the first of its kind in Egypt, due to its wide scale.
The Nobariya power station, which feeds the Metro system, was halted after the malfunction, which ended train movement on the first line between Marg and Helwan and the third line between Ataba and Heliopolis, Youm7 reported.
Reportedly, the Metro train movement on the two lines is now normal.
The Cairo Post’s Samar Samir, on the scene in Helwan, said electricity was cut off in the area at around 6 a.m., and the local Metro line was not working.
No halt was reported on the second line between Shubra and Mouneeb, as there was coordination between the Metro administration and the electricity utility to return power to the line before the beginning of morning service.
Five governorates in Upper Egypt—Minya, Assyut, Beni Suef, Fayoum and Wadi Gedid—were from 6 a.m. until as of press time still without power according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The Media Production City also experienced a power cut, causing some television channels to stop broadcasting, but as of press time power had been restored.
Planned rolling blackouts in Egypt are actually common due to fuel shortages. However, the scale of Thursday’s blackout was unusual.
Additional reporting by Reda Hebeishy, Samar Samir and Ahmed Hassan