The Ethiopian government introduced electricity rationing on Friday, May 17, due to the lack of sufficient water at the country's power-generating dams, which led to a 476 MW power deficit. The power rationing is expected to continue on an hourly basis until Sunday, July 7. Domestic customers have been divided into three categories, each of which will get electric power service in shifts of five hours per day. Ethiopia has also suspended power sales to Sudan and has reduced supply to Djibouti by half.
Food processing, pharmaceutical, and export-oriented companies, as well as other social service-delivering institutions, will, however, reportedly be exempt from the power cuts.
Further power disruptions and associated protests are possible over the coming months.
In the past several months, the country has experienced severe power shortages, which has affected factories, businesses, hotels, banks, and internet and telecommunications users. Power rationing has also been implemented in the past to address severe power shortages.
Ethiopia gets 90 percent of its total electricity from hydropower generating plants and is in the process of constructing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the largest hydroelectric dam project on the continent, which is anticipated to begin generating power as early as next year.
Individuals in Ethiopia are advised to monitor the situation, avoid any associated protests as a precaution, keep battery-operated devices fully charged whenever possible, and to be cautious when driving or crossing streets if traffic signals are not functioning. Individuals are also advised to adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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