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Gibe III, the biggest hydroelectric dam.

ADDIS ABABA, May 17 (Reuters) – Ethiopia has started to ration electricity for domestic and industrial customers after a drop in water levels in hydroelectric dams led to a production deficit, the minister for water and electricity, Sileshe Getahun, said on Friday.

The drop in water levels at the country’s Gibe 3 dam had led to a deficit of 476 megawatts, Sileshe told a news conference, more than a third of the country’s electricity generation of 1,400 MW.

Ethiopia has also suspended electricity exports to neighbouring Djibouti and Sudan, which earns the country $180 million a year, the minister said.

Under the rationing programme, which runs until July, domestic consumers will face blackouts for several hours each day, while cement and steel firms will have to operate fewer shifts due to the cuts, Sileshe said.

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