On the New Year's eve the government of Serbia has urged all electricity consumers, including industrial enterprises, to save power. The republic's minister of labour told a news conference that the government recommended the enterprises not to function on January 3 and 4 of next year, reduce drastically their productivity in the remaining days of 2001, and maintain only continuous-cycle production. He described the energy situation in Serbia and the entire region as extremely grave. The minister said that generation and import of electricity reached their peak and could not be increased further. On December 27, for example, daily consumption totaled 142 million kilowatt/hours, which is an extremely high level for Serbia's power industry. According to specialist estimates, the system can sustain a short-time surge of not more than 150 million kilowatt/hours. Energy Minister Goran Novakovic, for his part, explained that Serbia cannot import more power because neighbouring countries are experiencing the same difficulties. According to him, there is a blanket restriction on consumption of electric power.
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