Power cuts are back!

Living in Egypt, we are all accustomed to the incessant electricity outages in the hot summer months.  As temperatures rise, people crank up their air conditioning.  Electricity consumption soars.  Egypt’s aging infrastructure can’t keep up.

In summer, official estimates put power consumption at 34,000 megawatts.   In winter, this dips to 22,000 megawatts.  So it is obvious we are currently using less electricity.  So why are we having black outs?

Electricity-PylonsAccording to the Ministry of Electricity, the shortfall of power production is due to a fuel shortage. The Ministry say they are working to increase imports but that will take time.  And we still have our standard sweltering summer to come.

The Egyptian budget is running at a deficit.  As a result of this, and a foreign currency crunch, the country has fallen behind in payments to international oil companies. Official figures indicate Egypt is in debt for fuel to the tune of $6.3 billion.

Oil companies have found it uneconomical to continue developing Egypt’s gas fields. At particular issue is the price paid by the government for supplies pumped into the domestic grid.

Last year, the UK’s BG Group, one of Egypt’s largest natural gas producers, said: “Further assurances regarding future domestic offtake levels and a material improvement in the outstanding debt position are required before releasing funds for the next phase of development.”  BG is owed $1.4 billion.

Experts warn that the current energy crisis in Egypt is likely to last for 2 years because resources do not cover consumption. I think it could be longer.

Many businesses have opted to power themselves and installed generators.  Often these are the size of a truck and just as noisy.  Big droning diesel engines may keep the wheels of industry turning but the size, price and noise pollution mean that this has not been an option for domestic use by people like you and I.

That is changing.  Recently I was introduced to a new option in Egypt that impressed me so much that I thought it worth sharing.

pss8e-(6)It turns out that bigger isn’t always better. Coming soon to Cairo; small standby generators capable of producing from 8kw to 80kw of power.  They have a small footprint and would fit on your balcony.  These little machines of magic run on bottled gas and will give around 8 hours of uninterrupted awesomeness per refill.  They are quiet, clean and cheap to run.  Consistent power that is capable of running essentials like air conditioners, refrigerators, TVs and computers.

Prices will start at just over the $5,000 mark.  Bottled gas costs only peanuts per bottle.  Finally there is an easy and affordable option for us all.  I am getting one.  Get in touch if you want one too!

Martin The Power Man


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