The electrical war, cont. (Updated)

The view from my window when there's a night blackout in my neighborhood.
The actual view from my window during one of the three night blackouts of last week.

Since the official annoucement of the “electrical war” last Thursday by Acting-(Like-a)-President Nicolás Maduro, things didn’t improve this weekend – to the point that some parts of Acarigua were in the dark last Sunday night when Mr. Maduro was in town.

On Saturday, another major grid failure left several Southwestern states without electricity for a while.

The government insists in bringing the “S” word into the conversation. Freddy Medrano, head of Zulia’s electric workers union strongly rejects such claims and puts the blame in lack of safety measures to do their work, and in the large debts of CORPOELEC on their salaries and insurance payments.

But the reasons behind the recent spikes in electrical failures are also related to the lack of enough power to satisfy increasing demand, forcing CORPOELEC to implement rationing.

In an phone interview with Barquisimeto’s main newspaper El Impulso, engineer and consultant Jose Aguilar explained that the dry season is putting pressure on Guri Dam, while other thermo-electrical plants face a shortage of fuel after the Amuay explosion.

In particular, Aguilar points out how electricity for Lara State is now being sent to other states instead. This special ratioting plan has been named by CORPOELEC “Charge Administration Plan,” and it has been in place since early 2013. However, that didn’t stop protests in Merida or even Portuguesa, where they reached the Governor’s house.

But looks like the priority for CORPOELEC at least this week won’t be fixing grid failures, but getting votes for Maduro. The company even held its own political event in Caracas.

UPDATE: According to this report from El Nacional, the National Dispatch Center (the coordination entity of the Electricity Ministry) recognized in a meeting held last week at the Vice-President’s office that there’s not enough generation to satisfy the demand and the crisis would continue all this year. They proposed to increase the rationing plan.

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  1. So if Maduro wins, will those states that voted against him will have their electricity cut off?
    Or has their electricity already been cut off?

    Venezuela has the lowest electrical rates in the Western Hemisphere. Just like gasoline. Would Maduro dare raise electricity prices?

    What part do Cuban play in the design and maintenance of Venezuela’s electrical grid?

    • Big part. Resources are divertided to Cuban lead projects where they are squandered and stolen. The isolated distributed generation approach they proposed made a few of the Bolichicos rich, and there is no capacity now to show for that investment.

  2. Wherever Capriles goes to campaign, blackouts seem to occur magically. Even the Caracas metro was shut down the other day.

    That’s some resounding tough luck he has. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was more than a coincidence. After all, it is the opposition saboteurs cutting off power to thwart Maduro’s campaign!

  3. Chavismo digs a huge hole in the economy, but it seems their solution, as always, is to dig harder? News reports look dire. They are calling the economy a “time bomb!” The Revolution is bankrupt, but they still give away money to win the election. Meanwhile, I read that the AN is introducing a bill to combat “monopolies” to facilitate further nationalizations. Now, how is that going to turn the economy around? Who is going to invest their money in Venezuela? How can Capriles turn all this around? He says he’s going to get money back from Argentina? They don’t have any money either.

  4. In 2008, I wrote this:
    In 2010, I wrote this:
    We are in 2013 and nobody seems to have done anything about the electrical situation!!!

    Yet, Venezuela has excellent EE professionals that know exactly what it is needed.
    I don’t understand why the government does not create a non-partisan group of engineers to solve the crisis.

    This is pure, simple, incompetence.

  5. I was just watching how Chavistas are shouting “luz, luz, luz” during Toripollo’s rally. Why isn’t Capriles calling for a press conference to talk about the research Alek has made on the Derwick chanchuyo? This would be a great way to illustrate how corruption directly affects every day life.

  6. Btw, I wonder who came up with the “enchufados” campaign?

    It’s brilliant.

    Finally an issue that could resonate with Ninis or disenchanted chavistas. If you had joined a CC or a cooperativa in good faith only to see a few siphon off the resources in corruption you may grow resentful. Particularly if you realize that those that are connected are the ones that are probably getting the bribes. Think of all the people waiting for housing seeing other people get the units while they are still on the list. Without knowing the specifics it would be expected that the most connected would get the units first. So there may be a resentment out there that the campaign is tapping into.

    Good job!


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