We introduce our Productive Revolution by giving you the week off

27

The international media is having a bit of a field day with Maduro’s decision to give everyone all of Easter week off, to try to save power.

Vox has an especially well developed description of the mess.

Partly this is a story about drought. Nearly 65 percent of Venezuela’s electricity comes from hydropower, and a lack of rainfall this winter has led to critically low water levels at its crucial Guri Dam. The massive El Niño in the Pacific deserves some blame here.

But the much bigger story here is that Venezuela’s socialist government has badly mismanaged the electric grid for years. Since 2000, the country has failed to add enough electric capacity to satisfy soaring demand, making it incredibly vulnerable to disruptions at its existing dams. Venezuela has been enduring periodic blackouts and rationing ever since 2009 — and there’s no sign things will improve anytime soon.

 Oy vey…el último que se vaya, que apague la luz.

27 COMMENTS

  1. With the water levels at 246.5 yesterday, it would seem doubtful that government workers will be coming back after the Easter break. The whole country may be shut-down until mid-May. Don’t worry, however. Everyone will get paid because the printing presses are running flat-out.

  2. Black outs are awful, we need electricity urgently. Even when I have battery for my pc or my phone I can’t use my wifi, that makes my gadgets kind of useless.

  3. “The massive El Niño in the Pacific deserves some blame here.

    But the much bigger story here is that Venezuela’s socialist government has badly mismanaged the electric grid for years. Since 2000, the country has failed to add enough electric capacity to satisfy soaring demand, making it incredibly vulnerable to disruptions at its existing dams.”

    There are several mistakes in these phrases:

    – No, El Niño is not to blame for anything. It hits many more countries than just Vzla, and they do just fine. Even in African countries, in the middle of the desert, they have plenty of electricity. Australia, Chile.. No me vengan con cuentos del niño o la niña o Maria Lionza preñada.

    – It’s not a “socialist government”. It’s nether socialist, nor a government. It’s not a gobierno, but a desgobierno. A criminal, authoritarian regime of sorts, a neo-dictatorship of the 21st century, an under-developed, disguised Kleptocracy, to be perfectly accurate. A narco-petro Cleptocracia, is what is is.

    The Real reason why there is an energy crisis is because, you guessed it, massive, galactic Corruption. When in doubt about any Venezuelan issue, look no further than that. The infamous Derwick Bolichicos, just to mention some of the crooks, Stole a dandy 1 BILLION US$, with their despicable power plant deals. They delivered a few used units, most of them are rusting away in various known sites. Chavez, (El Pajarito Comandante Eterno that most Venezuelans still adore and venerate), allocated Billions to be spent in power-generation equipment, dating back to around 2005-2009- But of course, it was just another Tremendo Guiso. The Derwicks took most of that money, promising new plants (from Pro Energy in the USA) and they marked it up about 3000%, did not deliver, or delivered a few useless, used plants, not the new ones under the contracts.

    To that, you add the lack of Maintenance of the electrical grid’s infrastructure. They do not maintain it, not because Corpoelec is “incompetent”, or “mismanagement”, no, it’s because there is no Money to be Stolen in maintenance. Very little to steal purchasing parts, and arranging for service of the power lines. Let’s be clear about that. It’s, as always, due to astronomical Corruption, nothing else. They know how to fix electricity lines, they know how to operate a power plant or a damn, they just don’t care. Cuanto hay pa eso?? That’s what matters. The root of all evil in Vzla: Zero Justice, no laws, forget about El Niño.. Forget about “souring demand” Vzla has nothing compared to many other countries, barely 30 million people to serve.

    Let’s call it as it is. Theft. At all levels, everywhere. THAT is the reason.

    • Chusmai, you should know a thing about corruption, since your good friend (and whispered woman of ill-repute) Iroshima, ex-PSUV diputada, just opened a luxury spa in Doral, and all this on her meager Bolivares income from the Asamblea. I know your Asian ancestry just cringes at the thought of omnipresent corruption in Venezuela, but, unfortunately, this has always been the case throughout history, although its corrosive effects were somewhat mitigated by the ’60’s-2012 oil boom, coupled with a relatively small country total population. What is concerning now is that the oil cornucopia is over, barring a Mid-East conflagration, those that could/can well-educated remnants of the destroyed middle-class have emigrated/are emigrating, leaving the societal dregs to “re-bulid” the country, similar to what happened in Cuba. The complacency of the 80+% lower socio-economic classes lining up for scarce foodstuffs and their new “bolsa de comida” assignation from the Jefaturas is mind-boggling, as is the complacency of what’s left of the middle class, as only a few thousand met in el Este in response to a recent Mud-called massive march to protest Maduro. As for the capacity of the average Venezuelan to re-build his Country, even if sufficient funds were available, Juan Largo’s account above of his relative’s oil rig experience says it best.

    • “The end justifies the means. What do I care if I rule the dead rather than over the living? The dead ask fewer questions.”

  4. You should include an Ash-Chavez character that says, “Madurachu I choose you!”.

    Secret Madurachu powers include Stonewall, the ability to do nothing regardless of the need for action, and Policy Fasciitis, the process of taking a straightforward concept and turning it into a stabbing pain for all involved.

  5. Para sumar aquí les traigo este punto de vista, que me pareció bueno y por eso lo traigo a debate:

    Comentario de mi contacto en FB:
    ” Esto me lo pasó una persona amiga, que además ser científico, me consta que es serio, y explica la verdadera causa de la sequía que estamos atravesando:

    Lo que mi amigo comparte en su pagina de FB:
    “…Los Geógrafos egresados de la ULA Mérida, año 1986, quieren aclarar el error donde están, irresponsablemente, difundiendo la teoría que es “El Niño” quien está ocasionando la sequía en Venezuela. No es posible que los profesionales que hemos cursado materias tales como: Meteorología, Climatología, Hidrología, Geografía Física, Biogeografía, Estudios Regionales, entre otras, aceptemos tal hipótesis, ya que dicha situación, o hecho geográfico, más nunca un “fenómeno”, pueda originar la sequía en Venezuela, siendo que se origina en el Océano Pacífico, mientras que Venezuela tiene fachada litoral, por el Mar Caribe y está en el área de influencia directa del Océano Atlántico. Por ello, tanto “El Niño”, como “La Niña”, producidos en el Océano Pacifico, con efectos directos de sequías extremas y precipitaciones extremas, en su zona de influencia, están plenamente explicadas desde hace más de 15.000 años por los peruanos. Venezuela no tiene estaciones, como otros países, debido a su situación astronómica inter tropical, entonces solo se observan períodos, o temporadas de sequía y de precipitaciones. Actualmente, es normal el período de sequía, desde el mes de noviembre hasta el mes de abril aproximadamente, seguido del período o temporada de precipitaciones, desde finales de abril hasta el mes de octubre. Insisto, son períodos normales. Lo anormal es observar nevadas durante los meses de sequía, tales como las producidas durante el mes de enero de este año 2016, en el sector del páramo de Piedras Blancas y Mifafi en el estado Mérida. O que ocurran huracanes antes del mes de junio en el Mar Caribe. Creo necesario, insisto, en que se debe aclarar ante el pueblo venezolano que la influencia de “El Niño”, no es tal para Venezuela y que lo que si puede explicar la sequía de estos años. es ocasionado por la deforestación de grandes superficies de árboles en las cuencas hidrográficas de la zona amazónica, en los llanos venezolanos y en los andes, lo que está coadyuvando a alterar los patrones de vientos húmedos, provenientes del sur del país. Si no hay vegetación de selva, no hay evapotranspiración que aporte humedad atmosférica, entonces el ciclo hidrológico se va alterando a tal punto que no hay suficiente humedad atmosférica para condensar y precipitar en forma liquida de lluvias, granizo, o nieve, en el norte de Venezuela. Muchas gracias
    Entonces dejemos en claro que, éste Régimen Comunistoide y depredador se escuda detrás del NIÑO, para tapar su mala praxis gubernamental y Traición a La Patria cuando ha entregado grandes concesiones a los chinos y bielorusos la zona amazónica, envenenando las cuencas de los rios con el mercurio, elemento altamente tóxico para la vida y que utilizan para el explote de los yacimientos auriferos, pero lo que realmente buscan, es uranio. Éste es un gobierno que impudicamente comete delitos de Lesa Humanidad. Recuerden los ecocidios cometidos en la ex- URSS (Mar de Aral, etc.) sólo en búsqueda desesperada de recursos económicos para mantener su inviable sistema político.”

    Igual no se salvan: ya el ultimo que salga no tiene como apagar la luz… no hace falta !

  6. To that, you add the lack of Maintenance of the electrical grid’s infrastructure. They do not maintain it, not because Corpoelec is “incompetent”, or “mismanagement”, no, it’s because there is no Money to be Stolen in maintenance. Very little to steal purchasing parts, and arranging for service of the power lines. Let’s be clear about that. It’s, as always, due to astronomical Corruption, nothing else. They know how to fix electricity lines, they know how to operate a power plant or a damn, they just don’t care.
    ———-

    That was a great commentary Sra. Smith, but I beg to differ with you per the state’s capacity to properly manage the grid, or basically ANYTHING in the power sector. Last year a family member was finishing a degree in petroengineering and had to do an internship at several big oil rigs in a kind of revolving assignment that meant moving – every month or so – to another facility, as need be. Unknown to many, big multi-nationals (especially French) are still managing some of the larger rigs, then there are those that are run by the state. The rigs run by foreign companies often have local hires and these, despite the trouble with getting spare parts and basic supplies to even keep the campo up and running, are managed by the book and show a high degree of professionalism and discipline, all of which are needed with a business so technical and involved and maintenance-intensive. My family member has nothing but good things to say about these outfits, given the circumstances. But when the move to a state-run outfit happened, the story changed radically. The executive branch was so inept and worthless and the workers so clueless it was a wonder how they ever pumped a single barrel of oil – according to my family member. In one case my “nephew” was asked by the day supervisor to estimate the volume of oil in one of the reservoirs (a simple thing to do for an engineer or anyone who knows basic math) because, astonishingly, no one knew how to do it. The entire operation was such a comedy of errors that my nephew didn’t sleep at night for fear that the entire plant was going to blow up. No one paid any attention to standard code of procedures and if they worked at all, the results were horrible.

    So from what I hear, the real engineers have long ago fled to other places or are working for the multi-nationals still operating in the country. The state run outfits are accidents waiting to happen.

  7. It’s not just the niño, i would question vigorously about Tocoma Dam, Planta Centro all the thermoelectric plants promised and supposedly budgeted in 2010.

    I will blame our current problems on that.

  8. Off topic, isn’t the extension of the decree the most easy to explain usurpation committed thus far by the TSJ? It’s very clear in the constitution that the AN must approve any extension? (article 338) I don’t get how the NA isn’t raging with indignation. At some point they’re going to have to assert themselves more than simply begging for OAS charters to be invoked. I’d start with firing every TSJ official who voted to extend the decree. If they don’t leave office, ask the military to intervene. If the military doesn’t intervene, ask the people to go to the streets. March every single night to Lopez jail. If the TSJ doesn’t even care about something like article 338, they’re not going to give a shit about signatures gathered for recall or a constitutional convention.

  9. I was asked to research the purchase of generators when the electrical crisis was blooming. There were virtually no generators available. The generators that were needed require extraordinary lead time so they can be manufactured. I was able to locate some Mitsubishi units that were massive new and heavily discounted because the original buyer did not come through. I was unable to ever get funding approved, they were too big. These units were for a power plant. I was told to find units that are portable units. These would be units that are in semi truck trailers. They are mobil and easier to launch. Again, I can tell you that these were virtually unavailable. What was available were used units in varying degrees of condition. I was told of some newer units available in Africa. Another broker told me to stay away from them since they had not been maintained. (why would such new units be for sale in a place that still needed them) Units that were properly refurbished by reputable firms were available within a year. I was told they had to be brand new. I scoured the western hemisphere and there were no new units to be had. I even looked into barge mounted units, again used industrial generators available but not new. All I know of Derwick, I have read here. I’m not defending them but I am not surprised that they imported used equipment. It is all that was available quickly. I spent a lot of time on this. It is too bad they wouldn’t have allowed the refurbished and warranted units to be approved. In my estimation they seemed like the best value with the shortest lead time. As a footnote, anytime I said the word Venezuela I had to work fast to not have people hang up on me. I can only imagine it’s much worse now.

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