Power outages spark demonstrations

Electricity cuts continued yesterday in a number of governorates throughout Egypt. Citizens threatened to take legal action against officials and to refuse to pay electricity bills.

The 6th of April Movement staged protests in the Cairo districts of Imbaba, Warraq, Shubra, Bab al-Shariya, and Boulaq al-Dakrour. Demonstrators hoisted huge anti-National Democratic Party signs and chanted slogans, accusing the ministers of petroleum and electricity of negligence.

Commenting on complaints about losses due to the power cuts, as well as calls from consumer protection organizations to protect citizens’ rights, Mohamed Awad, the head of the Egyptian Electric Holding Company, said the Ministry of Electricity does not intend to pay compensation. The financial burden, according to Awad, would be too great. Awad said some complaints about factories’ losses have been exaggerated, and he defended the government's policy, arguing that rationing is the only solution to the power crisis.

Meanwhile, the Minster of Petroleum, Sameh Fahmy, reiterated his ministry’s commitment to providing power stations with necessary fuel and natural gas. A senior government source said the ministry will conduct intensive negotiations with gas-importing states, including Israel, in order to negotiate a temporary cut in exports until the crisis is solved.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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