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Zambia Starts Rationing Electricity Supply to Mining Firms

The decision follows reduced power generation after a big drop in water levels in Lake Kariba, the chair of state-owned power utility Zesco said on Tuesday. Water levels in the lake were down at 1.66% of usable storage on Monday for the Kariba North Bank Power Station in Zambia and the Kariba South Bank Power Station on the Zimbabwean side of the lake, said the Zambezi River Authority, which manages the dam. Last week, Zesco doubled the number of hours it cut supply to domestic customers to 12 hours from six hours daily as the low water levels in the lake threatened power generation. Water levels in the lake have fallen due to reduced inflows from the Zambezi River and its tributaries and heavy use by power generation companies in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Ncube said power rationing was expected to be reduced by the middle of next month as water levels increased and full generation was to likely resume in March.