Venezuela announces rolling blackouts every other day to combat energy crisis

by Fabiola Sanchez
Washington Examiner

CARACAS, VENEZUELA — Venezuela’s government imposed rolling blackouts of up to four hours every other day throughout the country on Tuesday to combat an energy crisis.

President Hugo Chavez has said rationing is necessary to prevent water levels in Guri Dam — the cornerstone of Venezuela’s energy system — from falling to critical lows and causing a widespread power collapse. Drought has cut the flow of water into the dam, which feeds three hydroelectric plants that supply 73 percent of Venezuela’s electricity.

“This plan is going to be implemented troughout the country,” Electricity Minister Angel Rodriguez said. “In some places, it will be four hours, in others it will be three hours.”

Rolling blackouts will begin in the capital of Caracas on Wednesday, said Javier Alvarado, president of the city’s state electric utility.
Government officials had already imposed some cuts to help the country get through the dry season until May, when seasonal rains are predicted to return.

The government recently reduced the hours of electricity supply for shopping centers and required businesses and large residential complexes to cut energy use by 20 percent or face fines.

Chavez’s government has also partially shut down state-run steel and aluminum plants. The president announced last week that many public employees will have shorter workdays — from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. — except those in offices that tend to the public.

The article continues at the Examiner.

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