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Rolling blackouts have already been hitting neighborhoods of Cairo daily throughout the winter, when electricity usage is lower. Now summer's heat is coming, and Egypt's crippling energy crisis is threatening to mount, creating an immediate political liability for the new president to be elected this month. Once an exporter of natural gas, Egypt has increased imports of substitute fuels, including more expensive, dirtier-burning mazut, to make up for shortages of natural gas and keep power stations running. Last week, the Cabinet took the unpopular step of raising prices for home use of natural gas, used in cooking, in some cases quadrupling the price, to chip away at the giant subsidies the government pays for energy and to cut down on consumption.At the same time, the government is struggling to pay for energy subsidies that last year ate up a fifth of the budget.
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