Venezuela energy crisis

This item appears on page 4 of the June 2016 issue.

In an attempt to conserve energy, Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, announced in April that the country’s time zone would change on May 1, with clocks moving ahead a half hour (to take advantage of light in the afternoon), making it exactly four hours ahead of GMT. Venezuela has been 30 minutes behind GMT-4 time since 2007, when then-president Hugo Chavez made the change.

On April 22, the government announced that for the next 40 days in the most populous states, power would be cut off for four hours each day (except for parts of Caracas). On April 27, it was announced that civil servants’ would work only on Mondays and Tuesdays until the energy crisis is over. Fridays had already been declared work holidays for all state employees. 

Much of Venezuela’s energy comes from hydroelectric power, but a severe drought has reduced power output. Other steps taken to reduce power usage include requiring cinemas to close early and asking shopping centers to provide their own power.