World Bulletin / News Desk
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi urged the public to exercise patience towards the problem of frequent power cuts that have paralyzed the nation recently, noting that that the government needs $12-13 billion to address the power deficit over the coming five years.
"Egypt has a sprawling electricity network…but this network, including the generation and control stations, has not been upgraded over the past years," al-Sisi said in a televised address to the nation on Saturday.
"[Lack of] funding was one of the problems that led to the failure to develop the electricity stations, as we need $12-13 billion to cover the power deficit over the coming five years," he added.
The address came two days after several Egyptian provinces were plunged into darkness due to a technical failure that caused the national electricity grid to lose as much as 9,000 megawatts of electricity, according to the Electricity Ministry.
The outage paralyzed important state institutions, banks and gas stations, along with tens of thousands of homes, sparking massive public anger and media backlash against the government.
Al-Sisi tried to defend his government, saying it has been working relentlessly to encourage investors to pump funds into the electricity sector to address the problem. "But this would not happen in days," he said.
He also criticized the media coverage of the problem, saying that media outlets should be a means of solving the problem, and not complicating it.
"I speak to you with total transparency about the problems we are facing. We are currently preparing a report on the reasons that caused the collapse of the electricity grid [on Thursday], and would reveal the facts to the public," he said.
A-Sisi, a former army chief who is widely seen as the architect of the military ouster and subsequent imprisonment of elected president Mohamed Morsi, was declared winner of a presidential poll held in May.
His government had earlier blamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood for exacerbating the country's electricity crisis by destroying several electric transmission towers.
Electricity outages have become a common occurrence in several Egyptian provinces, with officials citing a widening power deficit at the face of high demand.Last Mod: 06 Eylül 2014, 15:04