Maduro announces 30 days of electricity rationing


first_imgCaracas: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro announced 30 days of electricity rationing Sunday, after his government said it was shortening the working day and keeping schools closed due to blackouts. Angry Venezuelans meanwhile took to the streets of Caracas to protest the power cuts and water shortages. The measures are a stark admission by the government — which blamed repeated power outages in March on sabotage — that there is not enough electricity to go around, and that the power crisis is here to stay. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe blackouts have worsened already dire economic and living conditions in the country, which sits on the world’s largest proven oil reserves. Power failures come alongside a political showdown between Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognised as interim president by the United States and more than 50 other countries. Speaking on state television, Maduro said he had approved “a 30-day plan” to ration power. He did not detail how it would work but said there would be “an emphasis on guaranteeing water service”. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsMaduro also acknowledged that many Venezuelans could not watch his broadcast because they had no electricity. Crippled infrastructure, little investment in the power grid and poor maintenance have all contributed to electricity problems. A “brain drain” of qualified personnel has also hit the industry, with about 25,000 people in the electricity sector among the 2.7 million Venezuelans who have emigrated since 2015. Add to that the country’s deep economic crisis, which includes a soaring inflation rate. Earlier on Sunday, authorities announced other measures as a result of the electricity shortage. “To achieve consistency in the provision of electricity, the Bolivarian government decided to maintain the suspension of school activities and establish a workday until 2:00 pm in public and private institutions,” Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said on state television. With no electricity, pumping stations can’t work, so water service is limited. Street lights and traffic lights go dark, pumps at fuel stations stand idle, and cell phone and internet service is non-existent. Children don’t have “a drop of water” to drink, complained Maria Rodriguez, a Caracas resident.last_img

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