Minister: Power outage could reach 6 hours daily due to fuel shortage

Power outages could be extended from two and a half hours to 6 hours aday due to fuel shortage, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker told CBC Channel Wednesday.
If the fuel available to the Ministry of Electricity becomes 10 percent less than the required quantity to run power plants, deficit in the capacity of electricity will reach 3,000 megawatts, which means power outage would be from two and a half hours to three hours a day, the minister said.
He added if a shortage in fuel reached 20 percent, power outage could extend to six hours a day.
The Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail said more quantities of natural gas would be available between July to September and the crisis could be solved if liquid fuel was used to run power plants.
Ismail added that using available liquid fuel would decrease power outage daily to reach only one hour and a half or two hours. Ismail called for rationalizing the consumption of electricity in peak hours saying the ministry would do its best to provide the needed fuel.
Shaker denied that using coal and fuel oil could decrease lifespan of power plants, saying that 50 percent of electricity production in the world is through coal fired power plants. Though coal is one of the cheapest methods of producing electricity, it is also the most polluting.
"I feel that we are very late in taking real serious steps to use renewable energy, whether solar or wind‏ power," Shaker said.
Shaker expected the months of July and August to be the most difficult due to the summer hot weather.
The Ministry of Electricity aims to rationalize at least 2,000 MW in the coming period equal to 7 percent of the total electricity consumption, Shaker said, pointing out that power outages tend to take place in the peak hours of the evening.
Shaker explained that the power outages are caused by two factors: the first is that some power plants are out of service due to maintenance before the summer season, and the second is fuel shortage.
Shaker called for rationalizing consumption otherwise the crisis will aggravate in summer.
The financial crisis affects both ministeries of Electricity and Petroleum, Shaker said, as the electricity sector owes LE144 billion to other sectors, including more than LE20 billion to the Petroleum Ministry.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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