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Andes Drought Forces Blackouts in Ecuador

Electricity blackouts in Ecuador, Nov. 7, 2009


Ecuador has introduced electricity rationing after a drought led to acute water shortages at the country's main hydro-electric power plant at Paute.


There have already been blackouts in the capital, Quito, and the Pacific port city of Guayaquil, officials say.


They say power to residential areas will be cut by between 5% and 10%, but businesses will not be affected.


The drought, which has hit the Andes region, is the worst in four decades, correspondents say.


The Paute plant, in eastern Ecuador, has been forced to halve its average production because of the drought.


Ecuador depends heavily on hydropower to produce electricity.