Egypt announces planned power cuts, measures amid heatwave

Egypt announces planned power cuts, measures amid heatwave
Mostafa Madbouli announced on televised remarks measures to cut down on energy consumption as the country faces a brutal heat wave.
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Temperatures in Cairo were expected to surpass 40 degrees Celsius during the week. (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Egypt's prime minister announced a number of measures Thursday, including planned power cuts, to cut down on energy consumption as the country and wider region endure a brutal heatwave.

Civil servants will work from home one day a week in an attempt to ease the load on local electricity networks, Mostafa Madbouli said in televised remarks, as temperatures surpassing 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) were recorded in parts of the country this week.

He also confirmed that planned power cuts announced by the government last week will continue, with residents warned not to use elevators at certain times of day.

Last week's measure sparked a backlash, with many people complaining that the cuts -- frequently coming at the hottest time of day -- often lasted longer than two hours and occurred outside of the planned time slots.

Madbouli on Thursday said the planned cuts would last one or two hours per day at most, adding that they come as energy consumption surged.

The premier directed civil servants who do not deal directly with the public to begin working remotely every Sunday for a month from August 6, and urged the private sector to take similar measures.

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Egypt's economy has struggled in recent years with runaway inflation and repeated depreciations of the local currency, affecting purchasing power and the ability to import key goods.

A similar energy crisis during the short-lived presidency of the late Islamist Mohamed Morsi led to widespread anger and protests before he was removed by the army in July 2013.

In 2015 the authorities struck a deal with German electricity giant Siemens to build three major power plants with investments estimated at six billion euros ($6.5 billion) in a bid to improve the network.

But the country has since struggled with depleting foreign reserves and mounting debt, exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year.