Brazil is likely to resort to electricity rationing soon due to low water levels in power stations reservoirs, according to a senior Brazilian power sector official.

Speaking at a conference in Brasilia, Mauro Arce, energy secretary of the rich industrial Sao Paulo state, said he had little faith in a power saving plan being worked out by the government. He said there was only a 20 percent chance there would not be rationing, after poor rains failed to fill the reservoirs in some areas ahead of a dry winter period.

His views contradicted statements by other top officials who said the new ‘rationalization’ plan was designed to avoid rationing and crippling blackouts. The plan would focus on measures aimed at saving energy by encouraging the use of more economical light bulbs and turning off air conditioning whenever possible.