Postcard from Ethiopa

The Ethiopian government has introduced nationwide electricity restrictions because of the low water level in the lake formed by the huge Gibe III hydroelectric dam.

The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity attributes the water shortage to unusually poor rainfall. Ethiopia is heavily dependent on hydroelectricity and barely invests in wind or solar power.

The power cuts represent a heavy blow to the economy. All factories except those producing cement have been instructed to reduce production in order to cut electricity demand. Electricity exports worth US$82 million a year have been jeopardised: supplies to Sudan have been put on hold and supplies to Djibouti halved.

The state electricity authority announced that the impact of power cuts are spread equally around the country, with each area suffering cuts of five hours a day. But some areas report that the power disappears for up to two days and then returns only sporadically for a few hours.

Blen Girma, who lives in the capital, Addis Ababa, tells me, “We haven’t had electricity for over twelve hours.” 

/Hiwot Abebe, Ethiopia

The postcards written by journalists in our network are published on the Blankspot Project website.