Ecuador has announced that it will enforce daily power cuts lasting several hours until mid-December due to a significant drought adversely impacting production at its hydro-electric facilities. The country is currently grappling with its most severe drought in the past five decades, attributed by the government to the El Niño phenomenon. This drought has particularly impacted the eastern and southern regions, where approximately 90% of hydro-electric plants are situated.
Energy Minister Fernando Santos addressed the situation, stating, “We have to be honest with the country, generation is not enough to meet demand. As a precaution against a collapse in power, we have to make specific and temporary cuts.”
The power cuts will be in effect for four hours daily in the Sierra and Amazon regions, and three hours daily along the coast. Implementation begins on Friday, with each city's power company responsible for determining the schedule.
Santos disclosed that the country requires an additional 460 megawatts to meet its energy demand. To bridge this gap, Ecuador will secure electricity through various means, including purchases from electricity generation boats. Additionally, authorities have confirmed that imports of natural gas are expected to generate an extra 100 megawatts starting in mid-December.
Furthermore, technical issues at hydro-electric plants have compounded the challenges, Santos noted. The government's measures aim to address the immediate power deficit and ensure a stable energy supply for Ecuadorians during this challenging period.