Egypt's petroleum ministry supplies more fuel to avoid blackouts
Ahram Online, Wednesday 28 May 2014
Sherif Ismail, petroleum minister, assures that no power cuts — common recently and a source of unrest in 2013 — will mar this week's presidential poll or the count

Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum has announced providing 77 million cubic metres of natural gas to electricity stations, representing three percent more than usual daily consumption, reported state-run Al-Ahram daily newspaper Wednesday.

Sherif Ismail, petroleum minister, said that the emergency unit in the ministry has been prepared to provide any station with fuel in case of shortages, to avoid blackouts during the presidential elections.

The ministry also supplied 26,000 tons of mazot and 1,000 tons of diesel.

Egypt’s presidential elections were initially planned to take place 26-27 May, but the Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) extended voting one more day in an attempt to raise the turnout.

Ismail assured that the emergency unit in the ministry will not allow blackouts to take place during the voting process and vote counts.

Summer power cuts have become more frequent in Egypt since August 2008, but have extended to the winter since December 2012.

The government has blamed fuel shortages, high temperatures in summer, local protests at power plants, and the security vacuum.

However, experts believe the problem is deeper with annual power consumption exceeding expectations for a number of years. The problem, experts add, will require considerable investment to solve.

Others blame poor maintenance of the national power grid and power plants.

Egypt was a gas exporter, but production has fallen off in the last three years of political unrest.

Energy shortages helped spark protests against ousted president Mohamed Morsi on 30 June 2013.