Experts say rationing could have been prevented had the government invested in maintenance and in the construction of thermoelectric plants
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a ceremony with representatives of the productivity sector in La Guaira, in this handout picture provided by Miraflores Palace on April 3, 2016. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters , photo: Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters
07 of April 2016 06:40:18
CARACAS, Venezuela — Public employees in Venezuela are being given long weekends in a bid to stave off a nationwide power crisis.President Nicolás Maduro says late Wednesday he is signing a decree giving state workers a Friday furlough for the next two months. Together with other measures, he hopes to reduce electricity consumption by at least 20 percent.Officials have been warning for weeks that the water level behind the nation's largest dam has fallen to near its minimum operating level. Almost 70 percent of the South American country's electricity comes from hydropower.Maduro's socialist administration blames the critical situation on a drought and repeated acts of sabotage by its opponents.But experts say rationing could have been prevented had the government invested in maintenance and in the construction of thermoelectric plants.