Blackouts have not gone away

Planta Centro: Where foreign “expertise” goes to die

Venezuela plunged into an electricity crisis in 2009, one that has seen an endless amount of blackouts and hundreds of promises from the government to fix the state-owned system. Last week brought a reminder that the issue is still serious, at least for those of us living in Western Venezuela.

Two of the main power plants serving western states suffered failures at the same time – Planta Centro thermoelectric plant in Carabobo, and La Vueltosa hydrolectric plant on the Barinas-Mérida border.

As a result, the energy supply for the entire region was drastically reduced, forcing CORPOELEC to implement special measures (rolling, programmed blackouts).

In the case of Planta Centro, the situation got so bad, at one point it even stopped producing electricity altogether. After one of the units was repaired, the plant is now producing some electricity, but far below its capacity. Two other units inside the plant have been inactive for years.

Last year, this blog reported that Cuban electrical workers were involved in Planta Centro’s long.promised recovery plans, but it looks like the results of that expertise are not showing up. As a matter of fact, there are also Chinese workers there trying to get it into shape. But that didn’t stop the personnel of Planta Centro from diligently participating in recent political rallies promoting the government’s version of “peace”.

Meanwhile, Zulia State faced a major power outage on Thursday due to a transmission overload, leaving large parts of the state without electricity for almost the entire day. And yes, the “S” word (“sabotage”) was thrown about to explain why. As usual. But yesterday, another failure left five States without power. The blame fell on wildfires.

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  1. It gets boring…sabotage,golpe de estado,fascistas,USA,departamento de estado de los estados unidos de norteamerica, bolivar,chavez,sensacion de inseguridad,plan X,etc-

    • The highlight, in terms of SICAD II: this is not, as everyone is saying, a fresh devaluation. The fresh devaluation came last year, when they just let the parallel rate climb as high as it needed to go to clear the markets. This is just taking a de facto devaluation and making it de jure. Sencillamente se sinceraron.

      • O ho! But it gets more entertaining.

        Check out this little Weisbrotism from a couple of days ago:

        Perhaps Kerry thinks that the Venezuelan economy is going to collapse and that will bring some of the non-rich Venezuelans into the streets against the government. But the economic situation is actually stabilizing – monthly inflation fell in February, and the black market dollar has fallen sharply on the news that the government is introducing a new market-based exchange rate. Venezuela’s sovereign bonds returned 11.5 percent from February 11 (the day before the protests began) to March 13, the highest returns in the Bloomberg dollar emerging market bond index. Shortages will most likely ease in the coming weeks and months.

        So apparently one month’s improved inflation figures when the last year has been running between 50-60%, introducing a new, under-capitalized forex system that results in an “accepted” 88% or so legal devaluation, and having the highest bond yields on the market are indicators of success in the economic war?

        Talk about eggs in a single bolsa. The one that bugs me the most is holding up the bonds like they are some talismanic ward against economic collapse. This guy is an economist and yet he doesn’t realize the relationship between bond prices and their yield? That the already discounted bonds are only doing well because they are paid on time for now (disregarding completely the $4 billion in redemptions due in 6 months or so and the lack of reserves) and he’s comparing them to a field that’s been pretty beat up as the Fed starts pulling back on the risk-free borrowing?


  2. Planta Centro has had problems for years. Here is a collection of photos from Planta Centro from 2008 in Notociero Digital which show an abysmal lack of maintenance at Planta Centro.

    It would be interesting to find out to what degree these maintenance issues have been resolved. As electrical power generation is apparently now a state secret- the OPSIS,Ve website is no more- it would be interesting to find out how much power Planta Centro has been generating.

  3. The natural tendency is to believe this is just another result of the inability to govern or a natural result from corruption. I’m not much of a conspiracy person, but often times I wonder if this is part of a coordinated plan. When the government rations energy (electricity, gas, gasoline), food, and weapons now they have the perfect control over the population.

  4. Add to the general deterioration of the power system infrastructure, that the El Niño cycle appears to be back, and we can expect a lot less rain which will drain the Guri system reservoirs. Perfect storm, anyone…?

  5. I feel bad for the people who don’t live in Caracas or Maracaibo, the blackouts anywhere but in those 2 cities can go on for days, specially in the “Interior del país” (I don’t know what the term for that would be, rural parts of the country maybe?)

  6. Tell me about it. A blackout started in Caracas last night, and several areas of La Candelaria, La Florida and Chacaito have no electricity. The subway is working only partially.


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