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.