Venezuela’s gives Fridays off to ease power consumption

Venezuela’s first lady Cilia Flores, left, speaks to her husband, President Nicolas Maduro during a demonstration, at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, April 7, 2016. (Photo: Ariana Cubillos, AP)

Embattled President Nicolas Maduro gave the country’s 1-million-plus public administration employees Fridays off for the next two months in a bid to reduce electricity use in the oil-rich country and avert a collapse of the power grid.

Maduro also called on his citizens yesterday to reduce their power consumption, the highest in Latin America, in a bid to cope with the burgeoning crisis that has disrupted life for weeks. If all of the government’s proposals are implemented, power consumption could fall by up to 20%, Maduro said.

“I want to avoid painful rationing,” Maduro said during a nationwide
televised address.

Venezuela, which derives 70% of its electricity from hydroelectric plants, is facing an electrical crisis, partially caused by El Niño weather phenomenon. The resulting drought has reduced water levels at the country’s hydroelectric plants, in turn slashing generator output.

Read the full article in USA Today.

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