Venezuela Implements Two-day Workweek to Save Electricity
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As a last resort to save electricity Venezuela introduced a new concept: two-day workweeks. President Nicolás Maduro made the decision to create this temporary solution so that employees can sit through blackouts at home, rather than at work.
The schedule will have public employees working on Monday and Tuesday and spending the rest of the week at home. Schools will close every Friday.
Blackouts have plagued the country since the beginning of April, lasting at least four hours at a time. This left shopping malls deserted in darkness, very little food supplies at restaurants, and markets in danger of spoiling.
The emergency rationing caused troubling results within just a few hours after Murdo’s announcement on Tuesday night. Venezuelans began to riot after a power outage lasted more than twelve hours. The enraged citizens torched a bus, robbed stores, and attacked the headquarters of the government power company Corpoelec.
The reason the oil-rich country can’t keep on the lights is due to bad decisions made by the government years ago. The country looked at the potential of hydroelectric power and its rich petroleum deposits and decided to export one and live off the other, ultimately leaving the country to depend on its power from the Guri Dam.
The dam supplies about 60 percent of the country’s electricity and has the generating capacity of more than 10 gigawatts, five times the output of the Hoover Dam. When it’s working that is.
The reservoir has dropped down to a record low point, just five feet above “catastrophe point.” At this point, the turbines will stop turning and risk breaking down. With rain not falling fast enough, it is a very possible outcome.