Egypt extends daily power cuts amid rising consumption and drop in gas imports: Cabinet

Ahram Online , Sunday 29 Oct 2023

Egypt extended the duration of daily power cuts as of Saturday as a result of increased gas consumption brought up by high temperatures coinciding with falling gas imports, a Cabinet statement said on Sunday.

power short cut
File Photo: The Zamalek neighborhood of Cairo, during a power short cut, in Egypt. AP


The consumption of local gas – used to generate power – spiked over the past week, with a peak of 700 million cubic feet (mcf) recorded on Saturday alone; representing an 18 percent increase compared to the same period last year, the Cabinet pointed out.

At the same time, the country’s natural gas imports have dropped to zero from a previous total of 800 mcf per day, the statement revealed, noting that power generated from renewable energy has also lately declined.

The Cabinet didn’t specify the duration of power cuts; however, many citizens took to social media complaining about a longer-than-usual blackout on Saturday and Sunday.

In mid-July, the government began a nationwide load-shedding programme to alleviate the mounting pressure on the country's gas network strained by rising temperatures, which raised demands for air conditioning.

Amid public outcry, the government announced in August daily scheduled power cuts, releasing a map detailing the time and duration of power cuts in each district countrywide. 

However, several MPs have claimed the schedule is not being followed.

Power cuts have declined over the past two months.

However, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly previously said the cuts would continue as long as temperatures surpassed 35 degrees Celsius.

Indeed, temperatures have risen over the past few days nationwide, albeit still below 35 degrees, except for Upper Egypt.

Egypt achieved self-sufficiency in electricity in June 2015.

The country launched a plan to reduce local power consumption by cutting the amount of natural gas used in generating electricity, to in turn export it and boost foreign currency reserves.

Egypt faces a $17 billion financing gap, forcing the country to take various measures to secure hard currency, including increasing gas exports.

Earlier this month, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Egypt could save EGP 108 billion ($3.49 billion) annually through the daily power cut plan that began in July.

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