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Two children sit in front of their home in the Santa Luzia slum, before the residents protest against money spent on preparations for the 2014 World Cup, in Brasilia May 30, 2014.  REUTERS/Joedson Alves  Two children sit in front of their home in the Santa Luzia slum, before the residents protest against money spent on preparations for the 2014 World Cup, in Brasilia May 30, 2014. REUTERS/Joedson Alves   

Electricity Rationing, Blackouts A Reality For Millions Watching World Cup

For millions of soccer fans around the world, being able to watch their country play in the World Cup is a luxury: People in poor countries have to suffer through rolling blackouts and electricity rationing as massive amounts of power is diverted to meet surging electricity demands of the World Cup.

Soccer fans in Zimbabwe were outraged to find out power companies were rationing their power to meet the surging electricity demand. Blackouts are a regular occurrence in the country, but some of the rationing done by the  Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority is done at night during the World Cup games.

SW Radio Africa reports ZESA is “facing angry and dismayed customers” who are demanding “the company to suspend power rationing during the period of the tournament to enable the public to watch the matches on television.”

“Power outages are a daily problem in the country but when it takes place before or in the middle of a football match, which just happens to be part of the World Cup, it can be a very harrowing experience for fans,” said SWRA correspondent Simon Muchemwa. “Most fans have now turned to sports bars where they pay a fee to watch a match as owners are using generators to power electricity.”

The small West African country of Ghana is actually rationing its power so people are able to watch World Cup games. Quartz reported the country rationed power so Ghanaians could watch their team play the U.S. last night — the U.S. won 2 to 1.

Low water levels at the hydroelectric dams on the Volta River this year have created power shortages across Ghana. Utilities have already imposed electricity rationing schemes to conserve power, but did not want their customers to miss the World Cup.

To make sure there was enough power to watch last night’s game, Ghana purchased power from its neighbor, Ivory Coast. The country’s largest smelter, Volta Aluminum, will also slow production to save more power for soccer fans.

“These plans are put in place for consumers to watch uninterruptible football matches during the World Cup,” said Ghana’s Public Utilities Regulatory Commission.