The Order is a Win for Right to Information and Consumer Rights
The Case Aims to Encourage True Popular Control over the Government Daily Doings
Arab Network for Human Rights Information
Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights
The Commissioners Authority of the Cairo Administrative Courts finalized its report in the case filed by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) and the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) concerning the government’s policy to reduce electricity loads in the country. The lawsuit calls on the government to produce and announce a general and comprehensive schedule explaining the policy related to reducing electrical loads and detailing the locations and times of power cuts in each governorate.
The report, prepared by Counselors Tamer Youssef and Islam Shahhat, responded to the request of the plaintiffs and confirmed several of the issues brought up by the case. It recommended admitting their requests to apply the principles of the right to know, consumer protection, and regional justice related to the power rationing.
The case was filed by ECESR, ANHRI, and the law offices of attorneys Khaled Ali, Ali Atef Atiyya, Mohammed Mahmoud Hassan, Jamal Sayed Abdel-Radi, Mohammed Farouq Saad, Noureddin Mohammed Fahmi, and Rawda Ahmed in July 2013, under case no.52717 of Judicial Year 67. It initiated legal action against the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Electricity, the Minister of Local Development, the Minister of Investment, the Minister of Trade and Industry, the President of the Consumer Protection Authority, the Chairperson of the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company, and the head of the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency (EGYPTERA).
The case requires from the defendants to prepare and announce a general and comprehensive schedule for each governorate, indicating the timing of power cuts for each area and street in the governorate. This would also entail requiring concerned administrative authorities to implement the load reduction policy based on that schedule. The plan should ensure regional justice, equal opportunity, and equality between citizens to reduce instances of long-term, sudden, and recurrent interruptions, causing serious damage to citizens, such as exposing their electrical equipment to deterioration, disrupting their livelihoods and professional affairs, and exposing them to loss of security and peace-of-mind during electrical outages.
ECESR and ANHRI embarked on this judicial experiment together, as an example of strategic litigation to achieve three goals. The first entails the activation of the right to know and freedom and free flow of information, in addition to the role of real popular oversight. The second is to ensure consumer rights to public services. The third would establish the foundations of regional justice and pave the way to its achievement, based on enforced judicial principles.
The plaintiffs are looking forward for a positive response to their request from the Administrative Courts, following the example of the Commissioners Authority.