Egypt mulls plan to reduce road lighting, air conditioners usage in govt. buildings

Amr Kandil , Tuesday 9 Aug 2022

Egypt’s Minister of Housing Assem El-Gazzar has directed his ministry to study a plan to rationalise energy and water consumption across Egypt, which includes reducing lighting on roads, regulating the use of air conditioners in government buildings amid the ongoing global energy crisis.

Ministry of Housing
Minister of Housing Assem El-Gazzar meets with heads of the new cities administrations. Ministry of Housing


"Rationalising [power and water] consumption is no longer an option and we have to deal with the rationalisation issue in an optimal manner in light of the crisis the world is currently witnessing," a statement by the ministry cited El-Gazzar as saying on Tuesday.

He stressed the need to reduce reliance on energy, electricity and water resources to ensure their optimal use.

In a meeting with heads of the new cities' administrations, El-Gazzar ordered setting up a plan with well-defined objectives and measurement indicators for each city to reduce water and energy consumption.

The ministry will also issue directives to malls and commercial complexes to participate in the state's plan of rationalising energy consumption, said El-Gazzar.

Redirecting resources

The Egyptian state has a surplus of energy and does not suffer from any shortage in power generation, El-Gazzar said, while noting, however, that it requires large amounts of petroleum and natural gas. Therefore, he added, reducing electricity consumption will help the state redirect petroleum and natural gas to other sectors.

Such steps would help maximise the utilisation of these resources, reduce imports of petroleum derivatives, and save foreign currency for other needs, the minister noted.

Egypt has an electricity surplus of more than 25 percent according to Ayman Hamza, the spokesman for the Ministry of Electricity said in June.

While most power in Egypt is generated by gas, the country plans to increase the supply of electricity generated from renewable sources to 42 percent by 2035.

The need to reduce petroleum use has become more pressing amid soaring energy prices worldwide in light of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, which forced Egypt last month to raise the price of fuel products by up to EGP 1 per litre in quarterly review, the biggest rise in fuel prices since October 2019.

However, the government has announced postponing a planned periodic rise in electricity prices to start in January next year instead of July to alleviate the citizens' suffering amid high prices.

Egyptian officials have repeatedly affirmed that the crisis in Ukraine has had a major impact on the world's economy, of which Egypt is a part.

Since the start of the crisis in February, the state has called on Egyptians to rationalise consumption of strategic commodities to ease the foreign currency burden on the state but has affirmed the availability of basic commodities until the end of the year.

In June, Egypt's Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly urged Egyptians to rationalise their consumption amid the global food crisis, noting that this would enable the state to provide all needs and keep commodity reserves unaffected.

Egypt, which is one of world's most water-scarce countries, has also set a plan to rationalise water consumption and improve water quality through a strategy that runs until 2050 at a cost of up to EGP 900 billion.

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