Egyptian minister's electricity blunder sparks power shortages rumour

Egyptian minister's electricity blunder sparks power shortages rumour
Rumours flew in Egypt that the Aswan Dam might be going off line, due to a gaffe from the country's electricity minister who was quickly cut off by the president.
2 min read
19 May, 2016
Egypt relies almost exclusively on the Nile for farming, industry and domestic water use [Getty]

Speculation abounds of possible power cuts in Egypt after the country's loose-lipped electricity minister  accidentally let slip that electricity produced by the Aswan High Dam has been - or will be - taken off the grid.

Mohammad Shaker made the accidental revelation during a speech at the opening of a power plant in the southern city of Assiut.

"There are large, influential power sources on the grid that could come off and it wouldn't even be affected. Two large sources could come off such as the High Dam and a 4 GW power station for example," Shaker said.

His gaffe was quickly interrupted by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who promptly cut off the minister.

"Let's please not go into details," the president instructed.

However, the cringe-worthy moment was picked up by local journalists who spectulated that power from the dam has already been taken off the grid.

Egypt has long expressed concerns that a dam under construction in Ethiopia will reduce the Nile's flow, hampering the efficiency of the Aswan Dam.

The Aswan project produces around ten percent of the country's electricity.

Egypt - which relies almost exclusively on the River Nile for farming, industry and domestic water use - has sought assurances the dam will not significantly cut its flow to its rapidly growing population.

Both countries are currently locked in discussions over the project's technical details.

The ministry of electricity's spokesman has clarified that dam is operating at full capacity, however, he failed to explain the minister's remarks.

The Aswan Water Company has also told local media that the dam is running as normal.

With temperatures reaching temperatures up to 47 degrees Celsius this week, Egyptians will need all the electricity in the world to cool down their homes this summer.