Egypt public employees to work from home on Sundays in August to ease loads

Ahram Online , Thursday 27 Jul 2023

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that all government employees in bodies which do not provide direct services to the public would work from home each Sunday in the month of August to ease loads on the electric grid in the country.

Mostafa Madbouly
File Photo: Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Cabinet.


The decision applies to public servants in finance, administration, and IT, Madbouly explained in a press conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting in New Alamein on Thursday.

Employees who do have direct contact with the public, such as those who work in customer service or law enforcement, will continue to work from their offices on Sundays, Madbouly added.

The prime minister also called on private sector companies to allow their employees to work from home whenever possible to ease loads on the electric grid.

The prime minister also revealed that the government will be announcing a new schedule for easing loads.

Recent power outages have resulted from increased consumption triggered by the ongoing heatwave that hit the country and the world.

The schedule will be announced to the public on Monday, 31 July indicating dates and times for load easing by neighbourhood, the prime minister said.

Urgent measures

The prime minister also announced that the government plans to import 250-300 million dollars worth of diesel as part of urgent efforts to bolster fuel supplies to power plants, stressing that the government has suspended its gas exports during the summer to provide adequate energy supplies to power plants.  

The Ministry of Youth and Sports has been instructed to schedule all sports matches before sunset to reduce electricity consumption, Madbouly noted.

He further noted that the government has also reduced lighting in public spaces during the summer.

The prime minister explained that 85 percent of the energy required to operate power plants comes from fossil fuels -- particularly gas and diesel -- and the remaining 15 percent comes from solar and renewable energy sources.

Madbouly pointed out that Egypt is required to generate 34 gigawatts during peak hours, for which 129 million cubic meters of gas and diesel are required daily.

Madbouly explained that since the start of the heatwave on 17 July consumption have soared to nearly 36 gigawatts daily, which required procuring from 144 to 146 million cubic meters of gas and diesel daily. 

He added that Egypt needed to ease loads since not doing so would have required coming up with anywhere between 160 to 165 million cubic meters of gas and diesel daily - an amount that is not currently feasible to procure.

He stressed that while natural gas is available domestically, Egypt imports some of the diesel it needs from abroad.

Elevator warning in effect

In recent days, the government took measures to ease loads on the electric grid amid increased consumption triggered by a massive heatwave that hit the country and the world.

On Saturday, the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) announced specific starting times for easing loads, which went into effect on Sunday.

The EEHC informed the public that easing loads would take place in the 20-minute period between 10 mins before the top of the hour and 10 mins after the top of the hour.

The EEHC asked the public not to use elevators during this 20-minute window of time in order to ensure their safety.

The company stressed that any interruptions in power would last no longer than one hour.

Dealing with heatwave

Last week, PM Madbouly said recent power outages were caused by increased consumption triggered by the intense heatwave the country has been witnessing.

Madbouly added today that if the crisis continues until the first or second week of September the government will continue to ease loads and maintain all urgent measures.

Earlier last week, the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy confirmed that national electricity consumption had reached record levels.

For a second week straight, temperatures in Egypt went over 40 degrees Celsius in most of the country, climbing over sizzling 45 in the deep south.

Record temperatures around the globe have ignited wildfires across more than one continent, forcing governments to evacuate thousands of citizens.

The UN and EU monitors said Thursday that July is set to be the hottest month in recorded history and likely "unprecedented" for thousands of years, warning that this was a taste of the world's climate future.

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