Remember the electric crisis?

It’s hard to, right? It seems like forever ago. Two months. An eternity.

What happened? Well, through the ingenuity and wit of Corpoelec’s crack team of engineers and technicians, the underlying problems were finally addressed. A far-reaching structural reform plan was put in motion to allow them to act nimbly, and decades of delayed maintenance were performed through a coordinated national effort. Major resources were devoted to finding a lasting solution to the problem, investments were fast-tracked, equipment was upgraded, the policy framework entirely re-invented…

No, of course none of that happened.

It rained. That’s what happened.

Water fell from the sky over Guayana, and it washed away our electric problems.

Until the next dry season, of course.

Before the rains started, Corpoelec wasn’t doing the bare-bones minimum maintenance the hydroelectric plants need, and now that the rains started it’s still not doing it. Before the rains, electric rates were ridiculously low, and they still are. Before it rained, the policy-making apparatus around Corpoelec couldn’t plan its way out of a wet paper bag, it still can’t. Nothing’s changed. It just rained.

But even amid this bleak scenario, even with the reservoir levels still below historic values, even with most of the thermoelectric generation capacity offline, Minister Motta Dominguez can come forth and say: ”Problem solved”.

As the equipment continues to decay, Corpoelec is going through a labor crisis. A union strike was called on July 6th. Next year’s electric generation forecast looks grim.

The story of Corpoelec is the story of policymaking in our country. When something bad happens, our first instinct is to just wait it out. It’s Maduro’s first response to everything. We still subsidize gas to absurd levels, even though everyone —even Maduro— knows it’s socially regressive, environmentally ruinous and financially unsustainable. We continue to over-value the Bolivar hindering trade, making ourselves uncompetitive and sustaining corruption. Not even the people whose job it is to implement them believe in these policies.

So what are we waiting for? Rain, of course. We’re waiting for oil prices to go up. We’re waiting for something to happen to magically relieve the pressure. As soon as it does, we’ll be happy to go back to of our old ways, living large and enjoying that cheap forex.

And Venezuela will become Eloise’s convent inhabited by those of spotless minds (although none a blameless vestal). And praying for rain, our only recourse.

“How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!

The world forgetting, by the world forgot.

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!

Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d”

-Alexander Pope. Eloise to Abelard

15 COMMENTS

  1. We should remember that even after getting past the temporary crisis caused by the El Niño drought, overall power generation is still far below installed capacity. Remember that Guri was originally intended to feed the industries of Ciudad Guayana, including VenAlum and Sidor (massive consumers of electricity), not to provide power for the whole country. These industries have been, and remain, idled for lack of electricity.

  2. Sound like my home state of California.

    In the past when the lakes dried up, it offers the perfect time to dredge the lakebed of silt. This will keep the lake from filling itself in. And the silt can be used as topsoil on downstream farms.

    But nooooo…. They just let the dry like sit there until it rained again the opportunity was lost.

    We are now in our worst drought ever. The lakes around here are almost bone dry. Lots of lake beds exposed. Are they clearing them? Are they performing maintenance on the dams? Hell no.

  3. the government stating that the electricity crisis ended is just the Chavistas trying to take credit for something positive. Obviously, when the problem returns next week, the u.S. will get blamed for diverted the rain from Venezuela.

    • jajajaja
      it doesn’t even sound that far-fetched
      maybe I should be crying instead or singing for the rain to keep coming
      que llueva, que llueva, el burro está en la cueva
      (en una cueva bien oscura de ignorancia mental)…

    • 120 days shutdown = another Temporada Especial. Oh well, I guess we better ready for the next wave of balseros in Miami.

    • I am actually pretty convinced that such a scenario is exactly what they were hoping for – not to be forgotten is of course the great celebration of their salvation, the heroic resurrection de la revolución mesma

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