XXIst. Century Socialism finally arrives in Venezuela: Electricity rationing begins tomorrow!

January 12, 2010

After eleven years of failed policies, the Government of President Hugo Chavez will finally achieve what it has been unable to achieve in any other field: It will bring to all Venezuelan citizens a true feature of socialism in the form of electricity rationing. Yes, I know, dollars were rationed too before, but the poor have no access to them. Thus, for the first time the Government will impose a policy on all of the citizens which represents a worsening of their quality of life, certainly a very distinct characteristic of socialism and similar regimes. Somehow, they always end up imposing rationing of some sort.

Way to go Hugo!

And if the policy was not bad enough, it was announced an implemented with the same level of confusion, incompetence and improvisation that caused the electricity shortages, Daniel has a good summary of some of them, but I will describe some in more detail.

Basically, in Caracas (so far the rationing details have not been announced everywhere), every two days, wherever you live or work, there will be rationing for four hours in 4×6 chunks. You can download this complex document (see one page above, including the cynical Ahora Venezuela es de Todos sign), where you can see which Areas of Caracas correspond to each block. If you are in block A then you can find when your home or work will have the electricity shut off from midnight to 4 AM, from 4 AM to 8 AM and so forth.

Except that for each area, even to some streets, there are six zones for each residential or business area. That is if you are in Zone 1…

but wait, nowhere does it say how these zones are defined! That is, rationing begins tonight in about three hours, but nobody knows what their Zone number is. I have reviewed my electric Bill, no zone. I have tried to log in to the Corpoelec website, overwhelmed. Electricidad de Caracas website, also overwhelmed. Not ready for prime time, but coming very soon.

You’ve gotta love the robolution! Even when they deliver socialism, they do it inefficiently and incompetently!

But I digress..

Once again, the Government imposes a half-baked model. Since it is hard to know when somebody will or not be shutdown, there will be a lot of frustration and wasted time.

Let me give you a simple example: Suppose somebody wants to visit my office. We actually installed an emergency back up power plant eight months ago (We were certainly not surprised by all this, even if the Government was!). It can power us up for a total of 24 hours. However, if the person does know we are open, they will not show up. And even if they do, they may not want to walk up eight flights of stairs and then sit in my office without air conditioning for an hour or so.

But then look at it from our point of view, if our counterparts in our business are shut down, that in itself will hamper my business. How can I sell somebody something if they are not there? Because in fact, few of my counterparts had the foresight to get an emergency plant. In fact, we were originally told we could not install one in our building, but when the future looked clear to many last year, we were told to go ahead. (If we knew, why didn’t the Government know?)

And remember, the lag now is eight months to install an emergency power plant of any reasonable size. (I am also purchasing two Uninterrupted Power Supplies for my ADSL, WiFi and computers at home, if I am going to sit at home in the dark from 8 PM to 12 PM some nights, I might as well be surfing or blogging, no?)

I am just waiting for the Government to argue that this will not impact economic growth. Sure, fewer and more inefficient hours of work, have no impact in the economy. Tell me about Cinderella now!

And then we come to my biggest concern: Crime. You can be sure that criminals will be looking at the same maps to take advantage of the lack of police and security in whole areas that will now have no lights for four hours at a time:No lights, no alarms, no police, a sweet model indeed!For crime. Crime will go up, that is about the only prediction you can make.

Unfortunately, it will go up unevenly. This is where socialism will break down, poor areas will be hurt the most. Because they have more crime to begin with, because they have less security and because they are more exposed.

Because in the end my argument is false, absolutely spurious. Most of what Chavez and his Government does in the end hurts the poor more, not equally with the well to do, The devaluation hurt the well to do less, because those that can save at least managed to preserve some of their purchasing power in the form of savings in dollars. The poor don’t save. Or if they have a job, the purchasing power of the well to do will be restored in time, but the poor’s will take time to recover. It will take years now for the Government to even try to argue that the poor are better off in Venezuela under the robolution. This is the 2002 devaluation in steroids!. Crimes will get worse for everyone, but it will be worse for the poor. And inflation will affect the poor much more than it affects those that have jobs and purchasing power.

Short term, I actually think that this will piss people off more than the devaluation. This has an immediate effect on the quality of life of every single Venezuelan. The devaluation will show its ugly face slowly over the next two months.

Remarkably, it is hard to imagine anybody, anyone, doing a job that is worse than this. Everything, from economic, policy, to oil policy, energy policy , has been royally screwed up by the Chavez Government. Only the fact that oil prices soared had managed to mask the perverse effects of ignorance, incompetence and the full devotion to politics of Chavez’ Government.

Now that Socialism is here to stay, Venezuelans should brace themselves for many forms of shortages and rationing. If your lights go out at midnight where you live, turn on your flashlight and your laptop (keep fully charged!) and you will immediately know what is the number of the zone where you live!



37 Responses to “XXIst. Century Socialism finally arrives in Venezuela: Electricity rationing begins tomorrow!”

  1. food warmers Says:

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  2. Catherin Tribley Says:

    No Twitter marketing!? What’s with you man!

  3. Megaescualidus Says:

    “Venezuela ahora es de todos” [Venezuela is now everybody’s] should really read “los apagones ahora son para todos” [electrical shortages now are everybody’s]

  4. moctavio Says:

    Veneconomia article: Guri near collapse. Date: 2003


    Whose fault is it?

  5. moctavio Says:

    I dont know, dont have one.

  6. maria gonzalez Says:

    Well I am sorry but Venezuelans only will react when the “racionamiento” reaches the Blackberry and the Whiskey (18 years). I just came back from a short trip to Venezuela. I was amazed of how many people have a BB…Are they that necessary?

  7. Jerry Says:

    OK, the 4th. Republic is now officially blamed:

    And the rhetoric dropped from preschool to kindergarten… I especially like the part where he talks about their ‘crazy’ plans to build more dams on Caroni that his government dropped.
    Who the hell believes this?? And just what are his plans for September? Make the first few months of 2010 really bad so when things improve he can take credit even though they’ll still be worse than before? Declare a national emergency and call off the elections?
    Right now it seems to me the opposition is getting this handed on a platter…

  8. Roberto Says:

    I should have known, Kepler, that a Carabobeño like you would also be a Magallanero. You and Chavez share that, at least!

    Back on Topic: I guess we’ll find out what zone we live in in the next couple of weeks, from the blackouts and not from the Corpoelec website!

  9. Victor Says:

    Is it really just due to negligence?

    Of course they are incompetent, but is this part of the cuban master plan to take over the rest of the private sector in the quest for socialism?

    -crash the banks
    -ration all
    -buy the poor
    -destroy the institutions
    -pretent is all just due to corruption

    Don’t really believe in conspiracy theories, but is hard to believe chavistas could not see it coming. We are not talking ‘rocket science’ here…..just look at their motto ‘patria, socialismo o muerte’. We are sure they hate “the other”.


  10. Isa Says:

    This whole plan is so improvised, that a week ago it was not part of what the Government was thinking of doing.

  11. moctavio Says:

    Way off topic, we all felt in my office Haiti’s earthquake here in Caracas. We felt a rather strong tremor in the building. I was surprised it was the Haiti earthquake, kept waiting for an announcement of a separate event, but none has been forthcoming either by Funvisis or USGS, thus I assume it was Haiti, pretty amazing!

  12. Kepler Says:

    Oops, I see Roberto got the numbers. The only wrong fact is that Leones would win…well, perhaps, of course, they have to use a blackout to that end.

  13. Kepler Says:

    I know little more than nothing here.
    I think Miguel is right, I don’t see any other area, the rest is really big big jungle.

    Brasil’s Roraima and Northwestern states are closer to Guri than to any energy centre in Brazil I am aware of.

    Already before Hugo came to power there were plans to build an electricity connection to provide Roraima with electricity.
    I have been to Roraima many years ago and I remember it looked (back then, I am sure it is different now) more primitive than Venezuela, it was like back to the fifties (I went in the nineties), several people I talked to in Boa Vista had never been to Sao Paolo or Rio.

    There were huge protests down in Bolivar, specially by our pemones and other native Americans when the announcements came about putting that line through the Gran Sabana.

    Hugo promised he would not build that huge power grid through that national park. One of the first things that happened was that he did exactly that. Native Americans protested, the military was sent, I think two Indians were shot dead.

    The line was pushed through and now we have that going all the way to Roraima, not a nice sight and apparently not good for the health of the Indians around.
    Actually, even since Humboldt times: he tells us once the Spanish government threw away the Jesuits from the Amazonas, their huge herds (we are talking about many dozens of thousands back in the XVIII) in the Aupures region were left to nature…and the Portuguese who came from Northwest Brazil to take away the cattle. After some years nothing left and Humboldt just heard the accounts of what had happened years before.

    So one way or the other Brazil has taken this or that from Venezuela in not very optimal ways and the government has never been very efficient with managing those regions and…well, you know

    I think at this stage we should indeed focus more on us. In Europe grids are constantly getting power from every other country, but Venezuela is so concked out now in every sense: relationships with colombia, little profit coming from the Brazil side…

  14. moctavio Says:

    But we will never know, no?….

    Anyway, in the Corpoelec report it says they will stop sending 60 MW, not 80MW:

    (page 27)

  15. Roberto Says:

    I read yesterday that it was 20 MW they have stopped selling to Brazil. Most of Roraima State is connected to Venezuela and not to the Brazilian grid. So of the 80 MW usually sold, only 60 is now going through. I imagine they will not cut all 80MW, so our rationing plan also has international implications.

    Miguel, your scenario ends like this: “It will be fun, final game 11:58 PM game 7-5 in favor of Magallanes, two men on base, bottom of the ninth, two outs, two swings, two strikes, 11:59 PM batter swings, long ball, may be out, fielder goes backs up, lights go out… And the Leones de Caracas wins the Championship!

  16. moctavio Says:

    Cutting 80 MW to Brazil is part of the savings program. I really don’t know enough, but my feeling is that the areas of Brazil that we are inter connected to are not precisely those that may have excess production or capacity. We sell mostly to the city of Boa Vista and its surroundings, because it was very expensive to connect that well to the Brazilian grid (or cheaper to connect to our). Once again this is my gut feeling, maybe a reader can answer it.

  17. ow Says:

    I have a question.

    I have seen from news articles that up until at least the beginning of this month, and maybe even still, Venezuela is selling electricity to Brazil. Why???

    Further, couldn’t they pay the Brazilians and actually IMPORT, electricity from Brazil?

    I would assume Brazil very likely has excess generating capacity that could be accessed by Venezuela providing they were willing to pay normal market rates for it – which in this case they should be.

    Is there some technical problem with that idea – like is the part of Brazil that Venezuela sells electricity to not connected to the entire Brazilian grid and therefore not able to access much Brazilian generating capacity?

    It just seems strange that they wouldn’t consider paying the money and actually importing the electricity if they have the technical capacity to do it. And it seems very odd that no one has even brought it up that I have seen.

  18. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, I think it would be interesting in knowing how things are in, say, the Northern
    part of Los Llanos, in the Aragua Valley, along Sucre, in Maturín.

    The opposition should send messages that let those people see
    it is aware of what is happening there.

    Probably the situation is as bad there as in Mérida, but it would
    be interesting to confirm.

    A problem is the capital seems to realize only problems when things
    hit it…the thing is that if we want to gain control, we need
    support from other people. Most Venezuelans tend to live in cities…
    but in cities outside the 3 major ones.

  19. Floyd Looney Says:

    Don’t think that electricity rationing and then gas rationing or artificially high prices won’t affect food. Besides by the end of the year the military will control all the stores, they all be Hugo-Marts and you’ll never know what they do or do not have in stock, you stand in line and take your chances.

    So, yes, food rationing later this year.

    By the way Miguel, manmade global warming is a FRAUD, CO2 levels apparently haven’t risen appreciably in 150 years. Actually we may be heading into a mini-ice age. The climate never stands still, never has. Just remember that it was warmer 450 years ago when Greenland was really green.

  20. Roger Says:

    One thing about UPS is that they don’t re charge very fast so they sometimes need a larger charger to speed it up. You can also hook the right amount of car batteries to extend the run time. With a couple of extras you can take the dead ones down to your car and re charge them with jumper cables during long outages. If your close to your car you can use a 12v inverter and run a cord into the house rather than haul batteries.
    Of course the other thing to have is one of those white and blue solar water heaters.

  21. deananash Says:

    The poor are always screwed the most. As you yourself noted, thoughtful and educated people have already prepared (generators, rechargeable batteries) whereas the poor, even if they had the foresight, simply don’t have the means.

    You can bet your last strong Bolivar that Chavez and his gang won’t be suffering any blackouts.

  22. moctavio Says:

    I did hear them, I like that they were absolutely spontaneous.

  23. dillis Says:

    As long as they sort it out before the World Cup starts in June!

    On a serious note, did anyone hear the pots and pans in Maracaibo on Globo today? They were the first city to be effected, at least by the new measures! I get the sense this is going to really heat up, this march on 23rd January should see a serious amount of people. These blackouts are going to awaken everyone from their slumber, especially the Caraquenos, as the country doesn’t act until they get effected in CCS.

    I agree with Miguel, this is going to piss off the people more than the devaluation!

  24. moctavio Says:

    It will be fun, final game 11:58 PM game 7-5 in favor of Magallanes, two men on base, bottom of the ninth, two outs, two swings, two strikes, 11:59 PM batter swings, long ball, may be out, fielder goes backs up, lights go out…

  25. ErneX Says:

    Kiko on Globovision is asking for adjustments to these measures so they don’t affect baseball games, see what I was talking about? for oxymorons like this is that we have and deserve the tragedy of the Chavez regime.

  26. moctavio Says:

    That is Corpoelec/Cadafe plan, but does include Caracas zones, as you can see barrios are included.

  27. Juan Says:

    “(I am also purchasing two Uninterrupted Power Supplies for my ADSL, WiFi and computers at home, if I am going to sight at home in the dark from 8 PM to 12 PM, I might as well be surfing or blogging, no?)”.

    I agree, that is a good plan, but that is assuming that they won’t cut power to your internet service provider at the same time.
    Or am I wrong?
    I wonder, will those kinds of services be affected by the energy cuts?

    The days ahead will be interesting…

  28. moses Says:

    I was remembering a line somebody (Foreign Turist, I believe) spoke back in 1983 after the first devaluation. It said something like “In Venezuela they are also celebrating 100 years when Kafka was born, but they still have not realized it … “

  29. Speed Gibson Says:

    so do ya think anyone in Venz will ever grow a set of balls to take tis guy out before your country completely sinks into oblivion?

    and on another matter……thinking about that Russian shit that Hugo keeps buying……the Russkis dont make ships like this


  30. moctavio Says:

    Yeah, I am taking best whether I will find out what zone I am in before midnight.

  31. ErneX Says:

    MINCI has the PDFs for the blackouts for all Venezuela:


    But the server is being hammered at the moment…

  32. moctavio Says:

    And the pollution, but I guess Copenhagen was a long time ago. I do think we need a large increase in the price of gas though.

  33. moctavio Says:

    Barrios will be affected, some will be avoided, but you ahve to get there, taht is usually where you get mugged. Joke in caracas is happy 2011, Chavez already screwed up 2010

  34. moses Says:


    And wait when they increase the gas price…. All those emergency generators need Gasoline, Diesel, natural gas or Kerosene (turbo gas generators), the internal consumption will go up and leave less for exports ….

  35. ErneX Says:

    Actually (if I understood correctly from their announcement) the barrios (favelas) are not going to be affected by these measures, and I kind of understand why not, criminality would soar to even worse levels.

    But like someone said on the previous blog post, with these blackout charts now the thieves have all the information they need of where to go to conduct crime, no security devices, alarms, cameras, not even traffic lights or public lighting is going to be operating during these blackouts.

    What ELSE is going to take for venezuelans to finally subvert to this regime? some are still excited over the damned baseball games, this is outrageous and something must be done. I don’t believe in an electoral way out anymore, we’ve been through too much shit already to still believe/wait in/for elections.

    Someone on Twitter said Chavez just broke the Guinness Sex World Record, he screwed a whole country in just 3 days.

  36. moctavio Says:

    Charly, think 2002, this is worse, people are going to hurt like they never have during Chavez’ terms.

  37. Charly Says:

    All of that really doesn’t matter. Call me a cynic if you may but this power rationning is supposed to end in May. By then there will be very few months left to legislative elections, the government will going into overdrive to spend, spend, spend on chicken, arepas, etc. Since the average voter is intellectually challenged he will believe the good times are back, Chavez gets a majority in the nazional assembly and then we get another iteration of that farce until the following election, and so on and so forth. Politics is so easy in Venezuela. The big question is: is the elector getting what he wants or is he getting what he deserves?

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