Depending on which anonymous leaker you believe, the economy shrank something like 15 to 18% last year. According to the Caracas Chamber of Commerce, some 700 thousand jobs were lost  in 2016. Sometimes it feels like we’re going into a new dark age.


Sources within Corpoelec tell us that electric consumption has shrunk by some 30% since 2013. 

Just think of that, we’re using almost a third less power than when Chávez died. A staggering drop for a country outside the context of war.  Though perhaps not such a surprise: the economy as a whole is 28% smaller than it was then — even as population continues to grow.

An economic involution on this scale doesn’t happen on its own. An economy doesn’t just seize up from one moment to the next. It takes real commitment to shitty decision-making, ineptitude and sheer socialist will to shatter a once decent place to live and work.

This stark reduction is a natural consequence of the economy slowly shutting down. It’s certainly not a response to market forces: the Venezuelan state still steeply subsidizes electricity, no matter how much they claim they want to reduce consumption. Venezuela is still the country where your electric bill is that last thing on your mind when you decide whether to crank up the A/C, turn on the TV, or leave the oven running.  

If energy consumption collapsed due to closed shops and warehouses, El Niño and the so called “electric sabotage” —perfect 80’s glam rock tribute band name, by the way— the money spent on our constant, over-the-top save-power campaigns has been wasted.

The upside? Our old, ricketty, long-on-the-verge-of-collapse power grid is now able to easily sustain the loads being placed on it. Who needs more investment, when you can take the pressure off the overtaxed grid just by having a recession? Next time you run into an unemployed neighbor of yours, you might as well thank them for lighting your home.

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  1. Sometimes it feels like we’re going into a new dark age.

    While “literally” is a word that is currently overused, this is a most appropriate time to use it.

  2. Thanks Daniel.
    The constant blackouts limiting access to electricity are likely the largest portion of the decline in electricity consumption. If you only have power 4 hours a day, you naturally will use less. This may also have caused an increase in home or business generators using nearly free gasoline; electricity consumption from small generators may have increased offsetting the decline in purchased electricity somewhat.

    Another issue is the decline in the quality of the electricity. Surge protectors are valuable and get stolen fast. Many people unplug their appliances, TV, computers, etc when not in use to protect them. Let’s also add-in that purchasing appliances is getting very hard because most are imported. Perhaps fewer appliances are in use meaning less electricity use.

  3. I would be willing to bet that the single largest portion of the decline in consumption is due to the reductions in production of Venalum and Sidor. Residential use may have declined, but heavy industry has taken the biggest hit in the economic slowdown.

    • Roy I suspect your conjecture is right, its known that the production of Venalum and Sidor is at an all time low, that they are ordinarliy huge consumers of electrical power , that in the past they were shut down when the electricity being generated wasnt enough to keep electricity supply coming to the big urban centres ……. . Less known is that much of the phisical infrastructure of these companies is now much broken down and inoperative for lack of maintenance and replacement , which accounts for the steep fall in production …!!

      • That the physical infrastructure of all the Bolivarian State Enterprises has been or will be stripped completely is no surprise. I witnessed the condition of factories in immediate post-Soviet Central Asia. All machinery that was moveable had been stolen. In the plant that could not be physically moved, all of the motors, instrumentation, and cables had been stolen. Basically, nothing of value was left. All that remained were crumbling empty husks of what once was. That is what Venezuela can expect to inherit from the ashes of Chavismo.

  4. “Subsidy”

    “Cheapest power evur”

    Yeah, sure, except when they decide to chuck 80 and 150% raises in the wages without any warning whatsoever, going against the law (again)

    In Venezuela electricity is dreadfully expensive and as the water and phone services, a damn pile of manure due of the constant rationing.

    Yesterday madroga brayed that the opposition should simply “shut up because they look better that way”, this implying that he outright denies the right to exist of people that doesn’t kneel to the maggot-stuffed regime.

  5. How can 700k people lose their jobs and make energy consumption go down, wouldn’t energy consumption raise from having unemployed people consume energy in their homes?


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