Egypt will ban the production and import of air-conditioning units that enable setting the temperature to less than 20 degrees Celsius, in an attempt to decrease the country’s energy consumption.
The regulation, approved last year is expected to come into force in mid-July, at the beginning of the hottest period, which is expected to put extra strain on the already challenged Egyptian energy infrastructure.
In a separate move Egypt’s religious endowments minister ordered mosques not to run air-conditioners at all before 15 May and to use them only during prayer times and half an hour before and after the call to prayer after that date. All mosques not already equipped with electricity meters will have to have those installed.
However, experts believe these desperate actions won’t prevent widespread blackouts this summer as the energy crisis worsens with what is said to be the worst energy shortage in the country in years looming.
Egypt, the most populous Arabic country, has been struggling to feed its growing energy demand as it mostly relies on natural gas, which is currently in short supply in the country.
The volatile political situation and the inability of Egyptian authorities to draw a viable energy policy have discouraged foreign companies from investing into energy generation in the region.
Experts say the energy crunch is worsening and will not be resolved until more gas production comes on-stream, which is dependent on Cairo encouraging large investments. Such long-term policy decisions have been put off repeatedly.