Scheduled Black-Outs Announced to Save Energy During Venezuela’s Drought
Venezuela’s Electricity Minister Luis Motta Dominguez announced on Thursday that the country intends to shut off all power for four hours a day for a 40-day period in response to the current energy crisis.
Venezuela is cutting power as a last-resort effort to save energy during the drought that has significantly decreased production at the hydroelectric dam that supplies the country with 65% of its electricity.
According to comments made to The Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal, cuts will “begin Monday in 10 of Venezuela’s 23 states,” and will last “until water levels stabilize at the Guri Dam that provides most of the South American country’s electricity.”
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has extended holidays for state workers, giving public employees Fridays off for the next several months in order to save electricity. Shopping malls, health clinics, banks, and many other businesses are closing early, and clocks are being set forward to allow more daylight during the shortened work day.
Venezuelan citizens have expressed deep concern about the temporary changes, as food shortages are becoming a dangerous reality. One woman commented, “Who’s going to replace our food that goes bad after the light is turned off? Who’s going to guarantee me that it’ll be the four hours the government says it’ll be?” Critics blame the government, asserting that a lack of government investment and maintenance as well as corruption have led to the current water and energy crisis.
“This demonstrates the government’s failure,” said an opposing lawmaker. “With the electrical cuts, the citizenry is now paying for the corruption in the electricity sector, a fraud entailing billions of dollars.”
In the United States, we are always looking for innovative ways to conserve energy and lower electricity bills from Energy Star-rated replacement windows to premium roofing materials; however, Venezuela’s current energy crisis is about more than just cutting costs: it’s about preserving a way of life.