Artificially Low Prices = Too Much Consumption

It’s really too obvious to need much elaboration, and yet it’s almost never said out loud. The Venezuelan electric crisis is caused not just by too little supply but also, crucially, by way too much demand. This chart compares per-capita electric consumption of large Latin American countries. The data – from 2006 and 2007 – is the most recent I was able to find:

At 3,102 kilowatt hours per person per year, Venezuela consumes more than any other country in the region, and much more than any country not facing a considerable winter. In fact, the only two countries that come close to Venezuela are Chile – which is not only a winter country, but one with much higher per capita GDP – and Argentina, where power costs are subsidized even more ludicrously than our own.

Apart from those two, we consume a third more than any other Latin American country, and three times as much as the country that most closely ressembles us – Colombia.