State says summer power cuts won’t exceed one hour

Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said on Tuesday that electricity outages, which started last month, would be limited to one hour for each area block during the summer.

Shaker said in a phone interview on the privately owned CBC channel that if the Electricity Ministry receives the full amount of fuel needed, the electricity shortage would be limited to 1000 to 1500 megawatts at all times, with a few exceptional cases where the shortage would reach 2000 megawatts.

Electricity outages, which have become a regular occurrence during the last few summers due to increased electricity consumption, have started early this year, with residents complaining of power cuts that last for several hours in recent months.

Shaker said that starting June, three power plants would increase their production enabling the government to deal with the increased electricity consumption in the summer.

The minister clarified that his earlier statement, in which he said that power outages could reach six hours during summer, and which aired on a different program last week, was misunderstood. In the previous interview, Shaker had said that the outages could reach six hours only if there was a 20 percent shortage in the fuel needed to run the power plants, which remains a possibility. 

In statements to state-owned Al-Ahram last week, Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail had denied that the power cuts could reach six hours. Ismail said that the ministry is arranging to import fuel in order to contain the issue.

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