Minister: Hydro levels still below normal

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hydro levels at dams connected to Chile's central SIC grid are 20% below normal levels despite rains in May and June, energy minister Marcelo Tokman told journalists on the sidelines of a conference in Santiago.

The deficit is mostly due to levels at the Laja dam, which accounts for 80% of all the hydro power on the SIC, according to the minister.

"We still have to wait and see what happens in July and August, which usually account for the majority of rainfall during the year," Tokman said, adding that consumers should still be cautious with their use of energy.

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Measures taken by the energy commission (CNE), meanwhile, to preserve hydro levels by maximizing thermo capacity, have saved the country from power rationing.

"There would have been programmed rations if we had not implemented the regulations to conserve hydro resources," Tokman said.