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Venezuela announces electricity rationing nationwide

Staff writer ▼ | April 26, 2016
Venezuela’s Electric Energy Minister Luis Motta Dominguez has announced the start of electricity rationing next Monday due to the drought affecting the entire country.
Venezuela power
LatAm   Suspension of the power supply in Venezuela
Rationing will remain in effect for 40 days with power cuts lasting four hours daily.

Suspension of the power supply will be executed according to five different schedules and will be applied by geographic areas, though there could also be “cuts for random reasons,” including short circuits and acts of sabotage, the minister said during a televised interview.

“There will be restrictions. It’s necessary and it’s a sacrifice” but this is a “plan that will benefit and protect the people,” he said.

The Electricity Administration Plan will allow water levels in the country’s hydroelectric dams to be maintained, particularly at the southern-central Guri Dam, which generates most of the electricity consumed in the nation’s households.

Venezuela’s almost 30 million inhabitants have an average consumption of 15,500 megawatts per hour, 9,500 of which are generated by hydroelectric dams, the principal one being Guri.

Motta Dominguez said the level at Guri Dam currently stands at 242.07 meters (794 feet) above sea level, very close to the minimum operational level of 240 meters (787 feet).

“The drought is hitting the country hard” and “the heavy rains that have fallen on Caracas and other northern areas of the country over the past few days have not reached the south, where they have been scant and very isolated,” he said.

He also expressed his disappointment that Venezuelans “haven’t given much thought to the efficient use of energy” and residential consumption remains as high as ever.

Because of that, he said, “a meticulous administration of the water that’s left” in the dams “is absolutely necessary,” since the rains won’t fall at least until mid-May.

The National Meteorology and Hydrology Institute, or Inameh, warned that in April, Venezuela has registered statistically the highest temperatures of the year.

The weather phenomenon El Niño has intensified the drought that in Venezuela began in 2013 and has become more acute in recent months.