Venezuela Implements Measures to Conserve Energy

Posted June 13th, 2011 at 7:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Venezuela has announced a package of measures aimed at saving electricity, saying consumption must be reduced by 10 percent.

Vice President Elias Jaua announced the new regulations Monday, saying they are designed to avoid “inappropriate and excessive use” of electricity.

The measures call for the country's biggest energy consumers, such as industrial and commercial centers, to reduce energy use by 10 percent during a month-long period that will be compared to the same period in 2009. Businesses that fail to do so could face fines. Hospitals, schools, oil companies and the sanitation industry are among the sectors that will be exempted from the regulations.

Additionally, the government says homes whose energy consumption drops by at least 10 percent will receive discounts on their electricity bill.

The new policies come as Venezuela contends with power outages. Several areas, including the western state of Zulia, experienced electricity failures a few days ago.

Earlier this year, a power outage hit large parts of the oil-rich country, prompting President Hugo Chavez's government to impose three hours of electricity rationing in several areas. Officials blamed the power failure on a problem with major transmission lines.

In June of last year, President Chavez announced an end to months of electricity rationing that had been in effect across the country for several months due to a severe drought. Mr. Chavez said rationing electricity hurt the economy.

Venezuela nationalized the power sector in 2007.