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Egypt’s Electricity Cuts Continue So Prices Don’t Increase: Sisi

May 26, 2024
Screenshot courtesy of eXtra News

During a presidential conference on 25 May, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi indicated that ongoing electricity cuts across the country are a necessary alternative to increasing power costs.

“If the cost of electricity is one Egyptian Pound today, I would need to increase it to two or three Egyptian Pounds [to halt power cuts],” Al-Sisi stated at the conference

“To keep the power on for 24 hours with no cuts, I would have to double or triple the price [for citizens] to match the true cost of electricity,” he added.

Al-Sisi later highlighted that the government had set a plan dating back to 2016 that aimed at gradually increasing electricity costs to lessen government subsidization.

However, global challenges that began with the COVID-19 pandemic and continue with the Russia-Ukraine war and war on Gaza hindered these plans, Al-Sisi explained.

Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait also addressed the issue with live talk show host Lamees El Hadidi on 25 May, revealing that the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources would require an additional USD 300 million (EGP 14.1 billion) per month to import enough energy to end systematic blackouts.

Since the summer of 2023, Egyptians have endured scheduled power cuts as the government attempts to ration power consumption.

The war on Gaza in particular severely depleted Egypt’s natural gas reserves, with imports dropping to zero during October 2023. Imports eventually returned, but limited imports remain a constant concern for the country.

Initially, the cuts were attributed to the intense summer heat waves. Despite temperature drops in the winter, the government continued to schedule blackouts to address its foreign currency shortage crisis at the time – increasing cuts from one hour to two.

Despite budgeting attempts by the government, citizens still witnessed a 26 percent increase in electricity costs days into the new year. The increase in costs arrived after a three-year delay to “fully eliminate” electricity subsidies by July 2022.

It remains unclear whether Al-Sisi’s comments indicate further hikes will be made to electricity costs in the coming months.

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