SAO PAULO, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Electric utilities in Brazil made extensive power cuts on Monday at the request of national grid operator ONS, triggering electric outages across the country and drawing attention to a fragile power grid in the midst of a record drought.
ONS declined to comment on the outages. Brazilian officials have repeatedly denied the need for energy rationing, even as the driest spell in more than 80 years drains hydropower reserves and forces the use of more costly thermal plants.
AES Eletropaulo said it had cut more than 700 megawatts (MW) as requested by ONS, similar to reports by Light SA and other peers.
CPFL Energia SA said it had cut 800 MW to select cities in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul "to preserve supply to the system."
Copel, a utility in the state of Parana, said it had cut 530 MW, or about 10 percent of users' consumption, and it had restored distribution by 3:45 p.m. local time (1745 GMT).
Eletropaulo said it had totally restored distribution by 3:50 p.m. (Reporting by Anna Flavia Rochas; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)