The reasons for the return of power outages include sudden stopping of some production units and not adding new electricity capacities from Beni Suef, Borollos, and the New Administrative Capital, according to sources in the Ministry of Electricity. Moreover, the electricity distribution grids could not bear the high load with high temperatures, according to the sources.
They explained that the total electricity production is 30,000MW, and the capacity of the new Siemens plant was not added to the national electricity grid. The ministry seeks to utilise these capacities commercially and connect them to the network in May 2018 after the installation of the steam units in order not to consume fuel.
Several fuel-consuming power plants have stopped despite being registered in the annual maintenance programme. These units include Ataqa, Hurghada, El Nubaria, Talkha, Nagaa Hammadi, El-Kureimat, and Al Shabab power plants.
The number of electricity production units across the country is 155 units that produce capacities of 32,300MW. The Ministry has set a plan to renovate several units and increase their efficiency instead of constructing brand new units. Units that have been operating for 40 years were scrapped.
The investments allocated in 2016/2017 for the sector of electricity reached EGP 82.8bn, including EGP 34.2bn for production units, according to the statement of Gaber Desouky, the chairperson of the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) in the General Assembly meeting.
The sources added that electricity distribution companies are suffering from several problems despite carrying out annual maintenance where there is absence of electronic control centres to manage the Electric Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (ESCADA) in companies, except in Alexandria Electricity Distribution Company. ESCADA determines the reasons for disruptions, loads, and path changes to prevent outages. Companies still depend on the human element in the management of loads.
The EEHC has agreed with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to obtain a loan worth $243m to finance the automated control projects for the Alexandria Electricity Distribution Company, the North Cairo Electricity Distribution Company, and the North Delta Electricity Distribution Company.
The sources explained that illegal electricity cables and current theft contribute to overloading electricity distribution companies without being visible, which causes the sudden outages and burning of cables and feeder transformers.
The past three days have witnessed discontinued outages in several governorates, including Tanta, Shibin El Kom, Behira, Suez, Port Said, and Qaliubiya. The Electricity Ministry said in a press release that these are only emergency disruptions that are being resolved.
An official in the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency said that the load in Egypt has increased by 3% compared to last year. There is no overload currently, according to him, and there are reserves of the produced capacities; however, the high temperature causes these disruptions.
He pointed out that low voltages always suffer from disruptions. This is especially true to household consumers. The transmission and distribution system will be expanded and developed over the next three years with investments worth EGP 37bn in order to improve the quality of the provided service.