Mozambique’s Cahora Cuts Hydropower Output Due to Water Shortage

  • HCB to reduce output from each of five units by 12 percent
  • Electricity is one of country’s main exports, with coal

Mozambique’s only hydropower plant, which supplies countries throughout southern Africa, will reduce electricity generation for the rest of the year because of El Nino-induced water shortages in the region.

Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa SA will restrict electricity production from the dam on the Zambezi River after water levels in the dam that supplies the facility fell, the company said in a statement Thursday. Each of the plant’s 415-megawatt units will cut output to 365 megawatts. It’s in talks with its clients, which include South African power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. and Zimbabwe’s ZESA Holdings Ltd., to make adjustments and foresees “minimal restrictions in supplying energy,” it said.

Low rainfall has hurt crops and livestock throughout the region, with the South African Weather Service saying the drought is the country’s worst since records began in 1904. Electricity is one of Mozambique’s main exports, with the nation selling $299 million of power over the past five years, central bank data show.

Mozambique, a coal producer, is facing a cash crunch after lenders froze aid when it said it had hidden from investors that state-owned companies held more than $1 billion of loans backed by state guarantees. Low commodity prices have also hurt earnings for the nation, which exported aluminum worth $1.1 billion in the past five years.

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