Saving power in the face of electricity cuts

A government campaign to encourage energy saving has been on the rise in the wake of increased power cuts, which have been caused by a shortage in fuel that power stations need to operate. 

The government is now attempting to shift the attention from increasing production (through building more power plants and finding solutions to the lack of fuel available) to raising awareness about responsible and reduced consumption. 

The state-owned Middle East News Agency reported on Tuesday plans by the Ministry of Electricity to install “smart counters” which allow users to control their consumption. 

The agency cites ministry officials as saying that the counters represent “one of the best options for sustainability because they can predict overload and prevent or minimize power cuts.”

Mohamed Moussa Omran, undersecretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, explained that the smart counters link technology with power consumption through a dynamic system that functions as a network, which allows for more controlled use. 

The counters are also said to distribute overload on all other counters in order to minimize power cuts. 

Yet the government plan to install three million units of these counters is not set to start before a year from now, and will first address heavy users who consume 50 percent of electricity production. 

Both government officials and public figures have pushed for a solution that is based on user responsibility.

Mohamed Shaker, the minister of electricity, told the state-owned Al-Ahram last month that if every household turns off one lamp every night, there will be no need to resort to power cuts. He mentioned that his aim is to reduce consumption by 20 percent through awareness campaigns, saying that energy saving is a better investment than building power plants. 

Suleiman Gouda, who writes for the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm, and who is known for his staunch support of the government, said in his Tuesday column that the Ministry of Electricity has full intention to keep lights on in every household. However, he laments people’s lack of awareness about reponsible consumption. Gouda goes on to say that over consumption isn’t just about electricity, but includes misuse of water as well as other resources, and argues that the solution lies in education and awareness. 


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