Ethiopia Sees Nationwide Power Cuts While Drought Dries Dams

  • Prime minister says three hydropower dams are short of water
  • Ethiopia relies on hydropower to produce 94% of electricity

By William Davison

Ethiopia may face further power shortages because of low water levels at dams after a poor rainy season, an official said, following two days of sporadic cuts caused by technical faults at hydropower plants.

Unspecified issues at a substation serving Oromia region’s Gibe 1 and 2 plants, which together can produce as much as 604 megawatts, and a shutdown at the 320-megawatt Tana Beles installation in Amhara state, caused the outages on Nov. 28-29, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy spokesman Bezuneh Tolcha said Monday by phone.

The drought affecting the east of the country that’s left 8.2 million Ethiopians in need of food aid wasn’t related to the outages, though that may change in the coming months unless there’s non-seasonal rainfall, he said.

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