Caracas, Venezuela – Venezuelan government has ordered a three-day weekend for the next two months for all workers in public administrations to ease the energy crisis that the country has been battling for the last months.
Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro announced he would sign an order that will require state workers to observe Fridays as holidays for 60 days.The president said the order will not impact production in the country.
Almost 70 percent of the country’s electricity is derived from the Guri Dam, hydroelectric stations, which holds back the Caroni River in the southeastern state of Bolivar. Low water levels at hydroelectric dams can damage the turbines that help generate power, so if If water levels fall too low, the Venezuelan government might have to shut off the dam.
Water levels currently teeter on the edge of what’s considered critical: at the Guri Dam, a level of about 787 feet above sea level would trigger a shutdown. When the three-day weekend plan was announced, the water level hovered at about 797 feet.
Venezuelan president blames El Niño for energy crisis
The Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro blamed the climatological phenomena when he presented the 60-day plan to conserve energy.
The president said Wednesday night that the fierce El Niño event underway in the Pacific Ocean and warming global temperatures have helped create the brutal drought now racking Venezuela.
“With the warming of temperatures, it’s causing drought to an extreme degree,” Maduro said in a statement.
Venezuelan authorities said the El Niño phenomenon had resulted in lower water levels at El Guri, the country’s main hydroelectric dam.
Electricity Minister Luis Motta Domínguez posted on his tweeter account a before-and-after picture showing the decrease of the Guri Dam’s water level over a 5-day period saying El Niño is not a child game.
Government faces critics for its latest move to save energy
Some experts say that even though the climatological phenomena is not the only reason why the country is facing such critical energy condition. They say the country has failed to maintain and invest enough in its energy infrastructure and has severely criticised the move as they say the employees would just go home and turn on the lights and air conditioning.
Other critics claim the three-day weekends will hurt the country’s economy even more. Venezuela in currently facing not only power shortages but also shortages of medicine and food. Jesús Armas, the city councilor in Venezuela’s capital Caracas, said, “For Maduro the best way to resolve this crisis is to reduce the country’s productivity. Fridays are free bread and circus.”
President gave recommendation to people to help save electricity
The three-day weekend was not the only announcement president Maduro made, he also gave some recommendations to the people on their everyday routine to help fight the energy crisis.
For instance, He told people to turn off their air conditioners and air-drying clothes instead of using electrical dryers. He also urged women to stop using blow dryers saying he has always thought a woman looks better when she just runs her fingers through her hair and lets it dry naturally.
Source: Washington Post