Burundi has cut power supply to consumers to just four hours a day following a serious fall in water reserves in the country's main hydroelectric plant, its water and electricity utility said on Tuesday.
The landlocked nation of 8 million people has rationed power since July as the country undergoes a drought season until end of September.
Under the new rationing plan, the customers will receive electricity for 8 hours in two days, said Desire Nsabiyumva, head of the electricity department at Burundi's water and electricity board (REGIDESO).
In case we don't have enough rain, the situation may even get worse, he told reporters.
Burundi's biggest hydroelectric dam which may stop operating due to low rains, supplies 18 megawatts out of the total 42 megawatts produced by the coffee-producing nation.
Nsabiyumva said REGIDESO plans to hire power generators that can produce 5 to 8 megawatts to alleviate the impact of the country's energy deficit.
The commercial district of the capital Bujumbura is now overwhelmed by the deafening sound of small generators, generally placed in front of shops and offices.
Power rationing is already affecting Burundi's weak economy which has suffered from two decades of civil war in which 300,000 people were killed.
Early this month the government raised electricity tariffs for consumers by 124 percent, to partly fund additional power generation projects and for the exploration of nickel.
Access to electricity in the country, which is a member of the five-nation East African Community bloc, is estimated to be limited to just 3 percent of the population.
Authorities say Burundi requires an additional 270 megawatts in the next five years to meet a 13 percent growth per year in demand for electricity by households and to start exploration of nickel reserves estimated at 4.2 million tonnes.
The central African nation's government is looking for private investors who can inject money into the power sector.