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Keeping the candle burning

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Ongoing blackouts fuel online demand for generators and torches

Online stores are supplying energy products not traditionally seen in Egyptian homes – such as Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) generators and emergency torches – as a response to ongoing blackouts and security fears. (AFP Photo)

Online stores are supplying energy products not traditionally seen in Egyptian homes – such as Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) generators and emergency torches – as a response to ongoing blackouts and security fears.
(AFP Photo)

By Nasrin Ramsis, Muhammad Ala al-Din, Muhammad Fowzi

Online stores are supplying energy products not traditionally seen in Egyptian homes – such as Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) generators and emergency torches – as a response to ongoing blackouts and security fears.

Sales of emergency torches, whose costs vary between EGP 40-300, prompted by security fears on darkened streets. The website Souq.com recently launched a Who Turned off the Lights? campaign to promote new products marketed to help citizens cope with persistent blackouts. Such products include solar energy technology as a backup power supply for EGP 1,700.

Mustafa Mumin, retail director for the online shopping website e3050, said his company offices suffer at least two hours of blackouts a day, negatively impacting work flow, particularly with regards to the website’s servers and customer service centre. This, he said, has forced employees to increase their hours worked per week by 25% to make up for lost time. The company itself has come to rely on UPS generators and other technological solutions to reduce the negative effect of blackouts on operating systems.

Alternative lighting solutions are in hot demand too, with torches selling from EGP 70-600, while reserve UPS generators cost upwards of EGP 500. Such generators provide enough energy to run lights for up to an hour and a half, allowing employees to continue to work uninterrupted. Battery mobile phone and laptop chargers are also selling well.

Sherriff Nassar, executive director of the e-commerce website Nefsak, said power cuts and lack of security across Egypt have decreased consumer buying power, while simultaneously proving a boon to online retailers catering to concerned consumers.

Amr Al-Sahi, executive director of Souq.com’s Egypt branch, said the company is helping customers and clients to deal with blackouts, launching a new marketing campaign promoting affordable product solutions, including torches that employ American Power Convertors (APC) for recharging.

Translated from Al-Borsa


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