Campaigns calling on citizens to not pay their electricity bills until the government rectifies rolling power outages are “irresponsible”, according to Minister of Electricity and Energy Ahmed Emam.
The minister addressed the Shura Council’s Industry and Energy Committee on Monday, saying that private sector participation would “end the power crisis”. He added that private sector intervention would not impact prices. Emam also said that 300,000 street lights in Cairo had gone out as a result of the outages, saying 121 hotlines were being set up to respond to electricity-related complaints.
He added that a new electricity bill would be introduced “soon”, and builds on the $200m provided for the purchase of diesel fuel and $500m in reserves.
Emam insisted that his ministry was not asking citizens to stop using electricity, but stressed the importance of using discretion in an effort to conserve energy. The minister said the country’s power situation had continued to improve each day and that improvements needed to be implemented without imposing further burdens on the state budget.
Civil Aviation Minister Wael Al-Maadawy said that Cairo International Airport would seek to save energy by reducing lighting at Cairo International Airport and ministry departments by 20 percent starting in June.
He added that the airport would only be partially closed during the nighttime, but otherwise would function on a normal basis, pointing out that one runway was sufficient to deal with air traffic at night, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
On Sunday the Ministry of Electricity and Energy credited the improvement in the electricity network to provisions of additional natural gas and diesel by the Ministry of Petroleum for power plants. The problem, according to the ministry, took root when it was affected by shortages of fuel needed to run the plants.
Additional reporting by Ibrahim Al-Masry