Egypt announces power cuts to curb energy consumption

Amid a severe heatwave affecting Egypt and the broader region, the country’s prime minister declared a series of measures on Thursday, which include scheduled power cuts, aimed at reducing energy consumption.

To alleviate the strain on local electricity networks during the scorching heatwave, PM Mostafa Madbouli announced that civil servants will work from home one day a week.

This measure comes as temperatures in some parts of the country exceeded 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) this week, posing significant challenges to the energy infrastructure.

He also reaffirmed that the previously announced planned power cuts by the government will persist, and residents have been cautioned against using elevators during specific times of the day.

The measure implemented last week faced significant backlash, as many people expressed their grievances about the power cuts, which frequently extended beyond the scheduled two-hour durations and occurred at the hottest times of the day, outside of the planned time slots.

The prime minister instructed civil servants who don’t have direct interactions with the public to commence remote work every Sunday for a month starting from August 6. Additionally, he urged the private sector to adopt similar measures.

In recent years, Egypt’s economy has faced significant challenges, including soaring inflation and recurrent devaluations of the local currency. These issues have had a notable impact on purchasing power and the country’s ability to import essential goods.

Back in 2015, the authorities reached an agreement with the German electricity giant Siemens to construct three major power plants, aiming to enhance the country’s power grid. The investments for this project were estimated at around six billion euros ($6.5 billion).

However, the country has faced challenges with diminishing foreign reserves and increasing debt, which were further compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

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