During the last period, Egypt has been witnessing recurrent power outages in almost all of the country’s regions on a daily basis where citizens are forced to tolerate darkness, summer heat, and water shortages. These conditions caused public fury and protests that blocked roads in most areas especially following government confirmations that the situation would continue in this manner for next period due to high consumption rates at a level that power generation stations cannot cater for. The government further explained that there’s a 30 percent increase of load due to excessive usage of electricity in daily life.
In what seemed like a way of achieving revolution demands of social justice, President Morsi stressed the importance of applying dividing the periods of power outage evenly on all governorates divided by the daily hours, and that this should not be limited to the countryside and upper Egypt as the case was under the former regime.
The president also confirmed that he is keen on treating electricity like water and air in the Egyptian street and revealed that new power generation stations are under construction to resolve the recurrent outages. Until this happens, it seems that Egyptians will have to take Prime Minister Hisham Kandil’s advice in his statement which was more like an advertisement for cotton made garments as most young people described it on Facebook and twitter. Kandil advised the Egyptian family of wearing cotton-made clothes and gathering in one room to ration the consumption of electricity. Like former governments, this government laid the blame for this crisis on the citizens without taking into account that half of the Egyptian population are under the poverty line and cannot afford the air conditioners or fans they need to ration their usage of. Apart from this, those citizens would have to pay for the products that would be corrupted due to the recurrent power outage. Some electric product sellers have also seized the opportunity to raise the prices of searchlights and generators threefold, leaving the helpless citizens to pay the price despite a revolution made for social justice and fairness.
Instead of promising to resolve and end the crisis, Kandil stated that rationing power usage will be mandatory during the coming year, in an apparently disregard to the fact that electricity is a product that citizens pay for as opposed to services. The money paid is expected to be used for serving the people. It is embarrassing, at the same time, these statements come from a government that has promised to implement what was called a “renaissance project” meant to achieve a huge economic leap for Egypt. The likelihood of such prospects is known as the government stands hands tied before a simple problem like electricity in a country that was blessed with many resources for power that only needs a brain to utilise it.
In a protest to this government attitude, young people made calls to Egyptian citizens to refrain from paying electricity bills until the crisis is solved. They also demanded government figures to be role models and live with their families in one room before asking citizens to do this.
The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent or reflect the editorial policy of Arabstoday.