Egypt black out
Electricity shortages have reduced some Egyptians to working by candlelight Reuters

Egypt's energy crisis has reached a new low as some parts of the country struggles to cope with as many as six power blackouts per day.

With electricity consumption reaching record highs, the country's existing infrastructure is unable to cope.

The summer months are usually marked by a surge in demand for energy as air conditioning units and fans are switched on at all times in a bid to cool the stifling heat.

The country's electricity minister Mohamed Shaker told reporters that consumption had reached 27,700 megawatts, above the production capacity of 22,000 mW. The 20% shortfall has sparked the frequent power cuts that have plunged homes and businesses into darkness for hours at a time.

While the government has blamed this year's record power cuts on alleged terrorist attacks on the country's energy infrastructure, the shortages are not a new phenomenon.

Indeed, for the past few years, blackouts have become an increasingly common part of daily life.

Egypt has suffered from a lack of supply since former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011, as the country lurched from economic to political to social crises.

Last summer, the country's first elected president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in a coup after weeks of popular protests over the constant disruption to energy supplies.

Moreover, the government owes billions of dollars to international oil and gas companies. These firms have shown a reluctance to invest further capital in the country without seeing satisfactory returns on their investment and repayment of loans.

While the government has assured the private companies they will get the money they are owed, those firms have yet to show long-term faith in Cairo's current government.