Venezuela may shut industries due to power shortage

January 6th, 2010 - 2:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Caracas, Jan 6 (IANS/EFE) Hit by a severe power crisis, Venezuela has announced that it may shut down a few aluminium and steel plants as part of the country’s electricity conservation measures.
The government cannot rule out suspending operations at state-owned steel mills and aluminium plants as part of measures for energy conservation. “If the current emergency caused by the drought at Guri (hydroelectric dam) has no other solution, some basic industries will have to be closed down,” government official Angel Rodriguez said in an interview published on the website of El Mundo Economia y Negocios.

The Guri dam in the southern state of Bolivar generates 70 percent of the electricity consumed in Venezuela and its “level is going down by as much as three inches a day”, the newspaper said.

The Venezuelan government had announced last month that it will shut down certain production lines of basic industries to save 558 MW of electricity per day.

Venezuela is facing a power crisis that President Hugo Chavez blames mainly on the drought affecting the country and the “wastefulness” of consumers.

The government has made mandatory a reduction of 20 percent electricity consumption for shopping centres, casinos and bingo halls.

Last month, the Venezuelan government had already announced the closure of its two facilities at the Alcasa aluminium plant which, according to officials, will save 58 MW per hour. Production lines at Velamun aluminium and two furnaces at the Sidor steel complex were also closed down.

The restrictions on the use of electricity will remain in effect at least until May, the minister said Monday.

The country has been currently facing a deficit of 1,524 MW, Rodriguez added.

–IANS/EFE

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