Caracas, Venezuela (UPI) Feb 9, 2009
Venezuela plans to impose a partial state of emergency to deal with electricity shortages resulting from the worst drought in more than 100 years, President Hugo Chavez announced.
"Venezuela is facing the worst drought in a century and needs to be placed under an electricity emergency," Chavez said in a radio program, Suddenly With Chavez, that is aired at short notice when the president decides to address the nation.
Chavez said the government's position was made difficult by the continuing drought conditions that affected the water levels in the Guri Dam hydroelectric complex reservoir. The reservoir, drawing water from the Orinoco River, is crucial to the regular operation of the hydroelectric plant that supplies 44 percent of Venezuela's power needs,
The government's frequent explanations had little effect on outraged inhabitants of Caracas, who suffered frequent outages in January. Amid growing discontent, the government canceled some power cuts, only to restore them later amid dwindling water supplies to the dam reservoir.
Citing the reservoir's water levels, Chavez told the radio program, "Today it fell another 13 centimeters. It hasn't rained the whole year; it's Venezuela's worst drought in 100 years," Chavez said.
He said the government would now consider imposing an "electricity emergency" but did not specify what the partial state of emergency would entail.
Chavez said the emergency would allow the government to seek ways of boosting electric power supply but did not explain how he intended to achieve the results.
A government project to install 59 power generation and distribution centers and associated projects at a cost of $1 billion has not been outlined in any detail nor a timeframe been announced.
The electricity and power shortages have undercut Chavez's standing and raised the specter of popular discontent leading to electoral setbacks in a September legislative election.
Opposition critics of Chavez said while they recognized the drought caused water reservoir levels to fall they also blamed the government for lack of foresight that denied the power sector timely investment. Corruption and mismanagement have also been cited among causes for the power shortages.
Published media reports said the president's popularity was down to 50 percent -- a 10 percent drop in recent months. The opinion poll results indicated the government's version of events was believed by even fewer people than last year.
There is widespread criticism of the order of priorities applied to power distribution and electricity rationing. Poor planning led to traffic lights being switched off, and hospitals and shopping malls being made to suffer blackouts.
The government argues power rationing is needed urgently to prevent the water reservoir going down to levels that will prevent operation of the hydroelectric project.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Cyber fraudsters attack EU's carbon trading system
Brussels (AFP) Feb 4, 2010
Online fraudsters have carried out a "widepread" cyber attack on the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the EU commission said Thursday, promising a security review. The scam involved fake emails asking users of the carbon trading registries to log on to a malicious website and disclose their user identification code and password, the commission said. With this data the cyb ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|