The government of Ethiopia has announced plans to cut cut electric power supply for five hours every day across the nation for the coming two months following water shortage within the hydrometric dams.
Ethiopia’s Minister for Water and Electricity Eng. Sileshi Bekele confirmed the reports and explained that the drop in water levels at the country’s Gibe 3 dam led to a deficit of 476MW, more than a third of the country’s electricity generation of 1,400MW.
Under the rationing programme, domestic consumers will face blackouts for several hours each day, while cement and steel firms will have to operate fewer shifts due to the cuts, Seleshi said.
For the coming two months the Electric power supply authority will be forced to cut power for five hours in a day in some places across nation. The five hours power cut is divided in to three categories – morning, afternoon and evening. One area at a time will not have power for five hours, either in the morning, in the afternoon or in the evening. Critical areas such as, hospitals, export-oriented industries are however considered special thus will receive get power always.
Demand for electricity
Growing demand for electricity in the country is a major factor which has resulted to power blackouts more so in Addis Ababa. Companies such as Dangote Cement Factory require up to 47MW of electricity. This according to Eng. Bekele, will force the export of power to Djibouti to be reduced and to the Sudan will be interrupted as a result of the current shortage. The two earns the country US $180m a year.
The project has caused problems with Egypt, which fears the dam will restrict Nile river waters coming down from Ethiopia’s highlands through the deserts of Sudan to the Egyptian fields and reservoirs. The planned 6,000MW Grand Renaissance Dam is the centre piece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.