Friday,20 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1195, (1-7 May 2014)
Friday,20 October, 2017
Issue 1195, (1-7 May 2014)

Ahram Weekly

More expensive cooking

Egyptian households will start paying more for the piped gas they use in cooking and heating water starting at the end of May.

According to a new decision, those in the consumption bracket of 25 cubic metres per month will pay LE0.4 per cubic metre compared to LE 0.1 currently. The charge increases for consumers in the second consumption bracket of from 25 to 50 cubic metres. Consumption exceeding the 50 cubic metres threshold will be charged LE1.5.

According to the minister of petroleum, with the average gas bill of most Egyptian households hovering around LE6-8 per month the move will see these increasing to only LE15.

However, the move has stirred reservations, with a local newspaper quoting energy expert Ibrahim Zahran as saying that an average household with a stove and water heater would pay LE75, compared to LE20 currently.

The average gas consumption of Fatma Abdel-Khaleq, a 55-year-old housewife who cooks for her four-member family on a daily basis and has a water heater, is 28 cubic metres for which she is charged LE16. According to Al-Ahram Weekly calculations, the increases would almost double her bill.

Abdel-Khaleq is not happy with the increase, but says that the cost of the piped gas is still less than that of the gas canisters whose prices can shoot up to LE30-40 at times of low supply.

The price increase will only affect those linked to the piped gas grid, or around 30 per cent of the population. The rest of the population still uses re-filled gas canisters, which are heavily subsidised and are sold at LE8 per 12.5 kg cylinder, or 10 per cent of its cost to the government.

The prices of the cylinders were increased last year for the first time in 20 years as a preparatory step to applying for a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Subsidised bakeries are exempt from the hike in order to avoid increases in the price of bread, the main staple of many Egyptians’ diets. The savings from the new schemes will be directed to widening the reach of the natural gas grid to households.

Energy subsidies for this year are expected to increase by 10-12 per cent to reach LE130 billion.

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