Egypt PM orders urgent action on power cuts

Ahram Online, Wednesday 2 Apr 2014

Ibrahim Mahlab calls for action on growing electricity crisis, which is expected to worsen as the weather heats up

Ibrahim Mahlab
Ibrahim Mahlab, newly appointed minister of housing of Egypt's interim cabinet which was formed on July 16, 2013, speaks to the media at his office in Cairo in this picture taken on July 1, 2010 (Photo: Reuters)

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has urged ministers to take urgent measures to reduce the frequency and length of power cuts.

At an emergency meeting on Tuesday, Mahlab received written reports from the ministers of electricity and petroleum detailing the reasons for the increased number of power cuts over the last two weeks, a cabinet statement said.

He urged those involved to hasten the completion of new electricity power plants, so they are operating by June instead of August. The new power plants are expected to provide an additional 2,400 megawatts once in operation.

The number of power cuts witnessed across Egypt over the past two weeks will decline starting on Tuesday, Mahlab predicted.

Increased electricity generation by the Aswan High Dam and the diversion of diesel from industry to electricity supply will help improve the situation, he added.

The daily transportation of oil and diesel will be increased from 20,000 to 32,000 tonnes, and more diesel and liquefied oil for electricity generation will be imported.

Mahlab emphasised the necessity of being transparent and keeping citizens informed. He also ordered a weekly meeting to follow up on the implementation of the measures taken.

Power cuts have become more frequent since August 2008, but were mostly limited to summer. The phenomena started spreading to winter as well, beginning in December 2012.

Energy shortages contributed to protests against president Mohamed Morsi on 30 June and his subsequent ouster.

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