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Venezuela rations power as energy crisis worsens

[ 2010-01-14 11:22]     字号 [] [] []  
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CARACAS, Venezuela: Venezuela's government has imposed blackouts of four hours every other day throughout the country to combat an energy crisis, which experts say will further jeopardize the country's worsening economy.

Economists fear that the rationing will plunge Venezuela still further into recession, after posting its third consecutive quarter of negative growth last month. The economy contracted 2.9 percent in 2009, even as most other countries in the region began to recover from the global downturn.

Starting on Tuesday, Venezuelans will face rolling blackouts for five months as the worst drought in 50 years threatens to shut the nation's biggest hydroelectric plant and collapse the power grid.

President Hugo Chavez has said rationing is necessary to prevent water levels in Guri Dam - the cornerstone of Venezuela's energy system - from falling to critical lows and causing a widespread power collapse. Drought has cut the flow of water into the dam, which feeds three hydroelectric plants that supply 73 percent of Venezuela's electricity.

The blackouts are another economic blow after President Chavez devalued the nation's currency by as much as 50 percent on Jan 8 as he struggled with cash flow and a growing budget deficit.

Victor Poleo, a former vice-minister for electricity under Chavez, blames corruption for less than a third of the funds assigned to electricity projects reaching their intended destination.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Venezuela rations power as energy crisis worsens

About the broadcaster:

Venezuela rations power as energy crisis worsens

Renee Haines is an editor and broadcaster at China Daily. Renee has more than 15 years of experience as a newspaper editor, radio station anchor and news director, news-wire service reporter and bureau chief, magazine writer, book editor and website consultant. She came to China from the United States.