TORONTO (Reuters) -- Ontario's auto industry kept a low production profile Tuesday, juggling shifts at some plants and cautiously adding production at others as it tried to cut demand on the province's overloaded power system.
General Motors of Canada, which had dialed down much of its production Monday, added a shift at one of its Oshawa, Ontario, plants while further reducing production at another. The company is hoping that supply does not fall too far behind demand in the U.S. auto sector, which was operating normally.
"Certainly there will be some stress in the system with respect to Canadian suppliers feeding the states as they try to manage their power requirements, so there will be some juggling there," said GM Canada spokesman Stew Low.
"We hope by the end of the week that the situation is back to normal."
Low said it was too early to tell just what kinds of supplier hiccups might occur from the reduced production.
Automakers trimmed their production by about 50 percent Monday after the provincial government urged energy conservation in an attempt to return the power system to normal after the worst blackout in North American history.
With temperatures expected to rise this week, increased air conditioner usage is sparking fears of rolling blackouts, forcing automakers to keep their electricity demand at a minimum.
Ontario has been sketchy about why the province has lagged neighboring U.S. states in getting electricity supplies back to normal, but have pointed out that New York state relies on nuclear power for 21 percent of its electricity, much less than Ontario's 36 percent. Nuclear plants take longer to get back on line after a shutdown than other kinds of generators.
"We hope to be able to give industry and commerce more capability as we go through this, as we get back to full capacity," Ontario Premier Ernie Eves told reporters Tuesday.
Honda Motor Co. has shut down one of its two assembly plants at Alliston, Ontario, during peak hours but extended nonpeak shifts. The other plant was operating normally.
DaimlerChryler Canada juggled production at two of its plants, running the midnight shift at its Windsor, Ontario, assembly plant, while shutting down its Ajax trim plant.
"We're doing our best to balance our production needs with the 50 percent reduction in energy usage," said spokeswoman Kerrey Kerr, who said there was no negative impact on the automaker's U.S. operations.
Ford Motor Co. said it was cautiously ramping up production but still operating at reduced levels, adding some reduced day operations at its Oakville, Ontario, assembly plant, and running extended off-peak shifts.
Reduced production schedules were hitting auto parts makers as well. Magna International Inc. said it had cut production shifts both to comply with the lower energy requirements and to avoid a buildup of parts with automakers at half speed.