Awinter draw For its dreary end, many Egyptians look forward to spring. But they’re not too keen on their parliament recently approving a law restoring daylight saving time (summer time) are designed to ensure darkness falls later in the day. It hopes doing so will curb electricity consumption in the country and free up natural gas for export, as it generates about 60 percent of Egypt’s electricity. But the Egyptians are rolling their eyes.
summer time It was first introduced during World War II as a fuel saving measure. Since then, Egypt’s government has undergone constant changes. No one has been able to definitively determine the nature of its impact on energy consumption. Things were made even more confusing in 2014 when President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi announced that the clocks would be changed four times that year to ease the burden on those fasting during Ramadan. Egyptians had to turn to social media to ask the time. Some Red Sea hotels have ignored changes in favor of “vacation hours”, thus creating a competing time zone.
In 2016, three days before the clock fast-forwarded, the government suddenly said it would drop time forever. The chairman of EgyptAir complained that short notice would cost his company $2 million due to delays and missed connections. The International Air Transport Authority has reportedly asked the Egyptian government to set aside $8 million to cover the cost of changing flight schedules. Daylight saving time went from a minor annoyance to a bad national joke.
Gas exports have almost quadrupled under Mr Sisi’s leadership, but Egypt’s energy demand has also soared. Even if, as the government hopes, restoring daylight saving time would reduce the country’s energy use and thus boost gas exports, Egypt’s economic woes will not help.
Recent studies have shown that in countries with long, mild summers, an extra hour of daylight reduces energy consumption only a little. In a country as hot as Egypt, the air-conditioned yen means prolonging summer may even be counterproductive.
Other energy-saving measures include dimming street lights, shutting down decorative lighting in government buildings and keeping air-conditioning in shopping centers to 25°C (77°F). In 2020 and 2021, the government has restricted operating hours. The motivation behind this has been variously cited as trying to reduce noise, limit late-night crowds or slow the spread of covid-19, but it could also be to reduce energy costs. Whatever the truth, the clock-changing decree will not cure Egypt’s ailing economy.