Addressing the massive electricity blackouts that plagued most of Cairo on Thursday, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi unveiled in a Saturday speech that Egypt needs $12bn (EGP 85bn) investment over the next five years in order to solve the electricity crisis.
The president added that these funds will be invested to enable power stations to bear the increasing demands.
Al-Sisi stated that the electricity sector in the country has been facing difficulties for many years, but they were not addressed. The power grids have not been developed or modernised in a way that could meet the increasing needs because they require “large funds”, the president noted.
Discussing solutions, Al-Sisi said that the electricity capacity should be increased by approximately 2,500 megawatt (MW) every year, in order to able to produce an extra amount of around 12,500 MW after five years.
Al-Sisi also added that Egypt needs $700m per year to provide power stations with the necessary amount of fuel supplies.
A huge power outage caused blackouts lasting several hours across many areas of Cairo on Thursday, forcing suspensions on some metro lines during rush hour. Thursday’s outages were due to maintenance on a 500 kV circuit in a power plant in Cairo, the minister of slectricity said, adding that the circuit had to be disconnected to carry out the maintenance.
During his speech, Al-Sisi announced that the government is trying to attract $2.5bn per year in investments in the sector, noting that investors need to be assured that the state will buy electricity at market prices.
Al-Sisi said that a committee has been formed to investigate the reasons of the outage, which he said was the second of its kind in Egypt’s history, through checking on the stations. The president will announce the findings once the report is completed.
Natural gas shortages at electricity plants have prompted the government to reduce the load on the national grid by cutting off power several times per day.
During his speech, Al-Sisi has also condemned the attack on a security convoy in North Sinai last week that killed 11 personnel.