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Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Lights out in Kenya
Pylon
Both domestic and industrial users will suffer
The full effect of drastic new power cuts is beginning to be felt all over Kenya, with electricity supplies cut off for 12 hours - six day a week.

The national power company (KPLC) has blamed the measures on falling water levels in the country's main dams because of drought.



Kenyans say they can understand the inclemency of the weather, but they cannot forgive the government's blatant neglect of its duty

BBC's Louise Tunbridge
But critics say the problem has been made worse by corruption and mismanagement in the company.

The Energy Ministry has estimated the rationing could cost more than $100m a month in lost business, and correspondents say the measures could have devastating consequences on the country's already troubled economy.

The new measures began to take effect late on Monday evening.

Shorter, local power cuts had been in effect earlier.

Job warnings

The supply to industrial areas is being shut down each night in an emergency rationing programme forecast to last six months.

Manufacturers have warned of job losses and the possibility of factory closures.

The Kenyan economy is already in deep recession and the extra cost of running generators and the loss of production time may bring it to its knees.

Chris Kirubi, the Chairman of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, accused the government of taking the crisis too casually.

He said it had been foolish to rely so heavily on hydroelectric power in a region prone to drought and that the government must have assumed it had a contract with God.

The government says it is looking into ways of importing power and generating it through other means.

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17 Apr 00 | Africa
Famine threat across the Horn
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