Tags: LT | Venezuela | Power Rationing

Venezuela Orders long Weekends to Stave off Power Crisis

Thursday, 07 April 2016 10:17 AM

CARCAS, Venezuela (AP) — Public employees in Venezuela will take long weekends for two months under the government's latest bid to ease a nationwide power crisis.

President Nicolas Maduro announced late Wednesday that he would sign a decree giving state workers a Friday furlough for 60 days. Together with other measures, he hopes to reduce electricity consumption by at least 20 percent.

Officials have been warning for weeks that the water level behind the nation's largest dam has fallen to near its minimum operating level. Almost 70 percent of the South American country*s electricity comes from hydropower.

Maduro*s socialist administration blames the critical situation on a drought and repeated acts of sabotage by its opponents.

But experts say rationing could have been prevented had the government invested in maintenance and in the construction of thermoelectric plants.

Venezuela has grappled with blackouts for years, including one that took President Nicolas Maduro by surprise as he delivered a national address on live television. Caracas occasionally shuts down because of citywide losses of power and rural areas see regular rolling blackouts.

Maduro's predecessor President Hugo Chavez promised to solve the problem in 2010, but little has improved.

Critics ridiculed long weekend decree, saying it was an act of desperation and would do little to solve the energy crunch, as workers will simply go home and continue using electricity. Electricity here is virtually free, giving Venezuelans little incentive to conserve.

It's unclear how the move will affect institutions like schools and hospitals. Maduro said the decree applies to all public workers who can be furloughed without affecting production.

The government gave workers a full week off in March to save electricity, and in February imposed power rationing on more than 100 malls across the country.

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Public employees in Venezuela will take long weekends for two months under the government's latest bid to ease a nationwide power crisis.President Nicolas Maduro announced late Wednesday that he would sign a decree giving state workers a Friday furlough for 60 days....
LT,Venezuela,Power Rationing
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2016-17-07
Thursday, 07 April 2016 10:17 AM
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