Hugo Chavez lifts electricity rationing in Venezuela

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chavez lifts electricity rationing in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Thursday the end of electricity rationing that has damaged the economy and led to rolling blackouts.

The recent arrival of seasonal rains restored output from a crucial hydroelectric dam. Chavez’s administration imposed the rationing earlier this year as a drought drove water levels to precarious lows in the dam that supplies most of the country’s power.

Chavez said that is no longer necessary because water levels have returned to safe levels behind the Guri dam.

“We have overcome the serious electrical crisis,” Chavez said on state television, but he urged Venezuelans to continue to conserve electricity.

He said reduced workdays in some government offices — one of the measures taken to save energy — will end on July 30.

Earlier this week, the government said it would extend Chavez’s declaration of an emergency in the electrical sector until August.

The government has also been setting up new thermoelectric plants and making other upgrades to remedy deficiencies in the system.

In addition to rolling blackouts, officials meted out fines for those who did not comply with reduced usage rules.

Chavez said that the rationing had a negative impact on the economy, which contracted 5.8 percent during the first quarter of this year.

will not be displayed