Serbia extends power cuts as consumption rises

BELGRADE, Jan 26, 2000 -- (Reuters) Serbian authorities extended power outages to the capital Belgrade on Wednesday as plunging outdoor temperatures put an unprecedented demand on the country's power grid.

"We were forced to introduce two-hour power cuts in Belgrade also, due to a huge increase in consumption," Slobodan Petrovic, the head of maintenance for the Serbian power company Elektoprivreda Srbije (EPS) told independent B292 radio.

State news agency Tanjug carried an EPS statement saying the company hoped to normalize power supplies by Friday when the weather was also expected to warm up after dropping to -35 degrees Celsius in much of the country.

Petrovic told B292 that EPS was on 24-hour alert, but that the gap between production and consumption of electric power had forced the company to reduce distribution.

On Tuesday, EPS had implemented sporadic power cuts as the freezing weather sent demand for power skyrocketing. Belgrade alone consumed 33 million kilowatt hours (kWh), while the rest of Serbia consumed 140 million kWh.

The average daily production by hydroelectric and thermal power plants in Serbia is between 110-125 million kWh.

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