An increase in electricity demand has pushed up power deficit in Côte d'Ivoire. / Photo: Reuters

Unplanned outages at Côte d'Ivoire's main independent power producers have reduced available power supply by 22%, with electricity cuts expected for the rest of the year, the country's main business lobby said.

The General Confederation of Côte d'Ivoire Enterprises (CGECI) said the power supply crunch had already caused financial losses of at least $8 million to the mining sector. It has also hit cocoa grinding in the world's top cocoa producer.

The electricity crisis is linked to two major unplanned outages that occurred on April 16 at two independent power producers, Globeleq's 713 megawatt (MW) Azito and Eranove's 556 MW Ciprel gas-fired power plants, which caused a loss of combined 400 MW, CGECI said in a note dated May 10.

The April outages follow a similar one at Azito in January that led to a 253 MW generation loss, it said.

Increase in electricity demand

"The combined impact of these incidents corresponds to a total accumulated loss of 653 MW on the whole production pack, representing 22% of total available power," it said.

A simultaneous increase in electricity demand has pushed the power deficit up to 800 MW, i t added.

Both Azito and Ciprel declined to comment on the cause of the outages.

The business lobby said it will take several months for power production to return to normal. Electricity is expected to be rationed and cuts will be frequent until the end of the year, it added.

Rationing plan

To mitigate the impacts, power distributor the CIE has drawn up a rationing plan to ensure industries get an average number of hours of electricity per day. An outage schedule will be released at the start of each week.

Members of Côte d'Ivoire's cocoa exporters' association, GEPEX, said they were concerned about the impact on cocoa grinding.

"Our factories operate on a long 24-hour cycle, so we are directly impacted and it will not get better anytime soon.

"Grinding will only continue to decrease until this is sorted," the head of a grinding company, who requested to remain anonymous, said.

Cocoa grind decreases

The cocoa grind in Côte d'Ivoire was down 19.8% year-on-year in April

The West African country has an installed generation capacity of more than 2,548 MW, according to energy ministry figures.

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