Tale Of Two incompetences: The Electric Crisis And The Bill supply

April 27, 2016

aristobuloguri1

As I watched the Vice-President announce yesterday from the Guri dam, that public workers will no longer work from Wednesday to Sunday in order to save electricity, I could not help but wonder how limited in their understanding that pathetic civilian-military combo in the picture above is. By now, they have become a parody of a Government, but they still want to stage the announcement for the benefit of some imaginary crowd that they think will applaud  and cheer them on, as they get their feet dirty, for once, but really do nothing to solve the problem at hand.

They simply have no idea how to solve it. They never have. Seventeen years running around like a lost electron, without knowing what to do.

And two current crisis (among so many) show the incompetence of Chavismo at solving any problem. The electric problem, a complex technical issue that has been mishandled from the beginning and caused by Chavismo and now the shortage of currency bills in the country, a problem created and executed with all of the whole hearted incompetence of Chavismo management, but which lacks any technical component or complexity, beyond simple common sense.

But Chavismo has botched up both, the complex one over and over and the simple one with its sheer and remarkable stupidity.

The electric problem began in 2000 with the all-knowledgable full-of-himself Jorge Giordani, who had a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and a belief that he knew it all, which led him to cancel or postpone some hydroelectric projects in the Caroni basin, the same one as Guri. This was done in order to save money and because he did not believe in hydroelectric power, only in the magical power of Hugo Chávez apparently. Reportedly, he included in his wisdom that he thought Guri had plenty of power for our little Nation, a fact that I have been unable to confirm.

If you put together this, with Chavismo getting rid of anyone with any technical knowledge that was not fully loyal to the cause, and over the next few years, the electric problem got worse and more complex. Lack of investment at Cadafe and Edelca, now part of the all powerful Corpoelec, which includes the nationalized electric companies in 2007, only compounded the problem.

As if this was not enough, in the middle, Chávez brought Cuban advisors (Or Fidel sent them?) who at least were honest enough to suggest stuff they knew: The building of localized power plants where needed like in Cuba, isolated from the very distributed and highly interconnected system Venezuela had, a highly sophisticated system with power sharing.

Plants were built without transmission lines, the Government overpaid, many people made lots of money, as Venezuela paid over twice the internationally recognized price per MW. Meanwhile a parade of politicians with no technical background or an idea of how to run such a complex operation, from Comandante Fausto to Jesse Chacon, to Hector Navarro, to the current military officer playing boy scout that presides the Electric Ministry, were incapable of making the right,  if any, decisions. They had no clue and had few people around them with the know how.

Meanwhile, Guri was ignored, not because they knew there was no problem, but because it was better to give contracts to new people and companies, that pay maintenance to the original manufacturers of the systems and turbines that were the only choice to fix and maintain Guri.

And as the 2010 El Niño hit, the country came close to collapse, but the rains saved the day. Once the storm passed, the problem was ignored once again, there was money to be made elsewhere and despite the very ignorant boast by Jesse Chacon that he would fix the electric problem in 100 days, a recognition of how little he understood its extent and complexity, Guri continued to be mismanaged and ignored.

Mismanaged, not only because little maintenance was done, but also because the dam was no longer “managed”. A friend that worked at Edelca 35 years ago tells me that there were sophisticated computer models of how to manage the dam that can not be in operation today, otherwise the dam would have been shutdown.

And we stand today at the brink of a huge black out after two years of low rain, but not the dramatic drought the Government wants to convince us this is. And as 1600 mm. separate the country from a disaster, all Chavismo can do is tweet and be on live TV from the side of the dam, showing their incompetence. Only rain can solve the problem that Chavismo created and has been unable to fix.

However there has been a lot of rain in the last ten days and the level keeps dropping.

Contrast this with the currency bill problems. A simple problem when you come down to it. Printing bills cost money, so as inflation heats up, you design a new higher denomination bill, saving money on the number of bills. You send a purchase order, Pay for the bills and they arrive. As simple as that.

Instead, as Bloomberg reported today, as I was writing this post, The highest denomination bill is worth less than a dime, no new bill has been designed and after plane loads of bills arriving in the country to relieve the scarcity, the country stops paying the companies that print the bills.

No more bills for you!

A very simple process of decision making was interfered upon by an ignorant President, who did not want to print higher denomination bills, lest the citizens discover that there is inflation. As if the citizens were so stupid to not notice it when they go to buy food. And then to top it off, refuse to acknowledge the problem, bringing increasingly larger amounts of bills. Why pay if the printers keep sending them?

Until they didn’t.

Total incompetence on a very simple matter. You can’t make this stuff up. It just shows that whether simple or difficult, Chavismo has no clue about management, knowledge, technical issues, execution, costs and such complicated issues. If they only could use their political Macchiavellism to attack either of these  problems, whether simple or complex!

But everything is improvised. Just think, there is little evidence that sending people home saves any electricity. In fact, over Easter, a national holiday was decreed for ten days and according to Government officials, there were no significant savings. So, let’s simply not use what we learned then and completely paralyze the country. Who cares?

Venezuela is rich, what’s a few months without Government workers doing anything?

It’s Chavismo incompetence at its best!

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110 Responses to “Tale Of Two incompetences: The Electric Crisis And The Bill supply”

  1. moses Says:

    Latest Level data (each day it is getting more difficult to get the info):

    Sources:

    http://www.lossinluzenlaprensa.com/cota-del-embalse-de-guri/
    https://twitter.com/SoyJoseAguilar

    14/04/2016 242,77 -10 cms per day
    21/04/2016 242,07 – 9
    26/04/2016 241,60 -1
    02/05/2016 241,57 +9
    09/05/2016 242,22

    Between days 2 and 9 of May it is increasing at an average of 9 cms per day.

    My guess is that the rains are still not enough to generate as much electricity
    as Corpoelec would like, so they are keeping the rationing tight…

  2. IslandCanuck Says:

    From Corpolec’s website:

    Al 09 de mayo de 2016:
    242,22 m.s.n.m.

    • tobo Says:

      Anyone know where to get the current value? The ticker on the Corpolec’s front page seems to have disappeared.

    • IslandCanuck Says:

      You’re right.
      Gone completely.

      Why be transparente in face of bad news.
      What a bunch of corrupt idiots.

  3. Cne Says:

    Now no more gas:
    Gasoline Shortage Looms in Oil-Producing Venezuela
    Country’s Main Refinery Shut Downs for 45 to 60 Days
    https://panampost.com/sabrina-martin/2016/05/09/67610/

    It is tragically comic each disaster that keeps multiplying the misery in Venezuela.
    No beer, no food, no gas. sounds like a sign in front of exit on a desolate road exit. Guess they just can’t figure out that things are not going to get better.

  4. Kepler Says:

    Miguel,
    Years ago some bloggers wrote the regime would hardly have room for maneuver if oil prices dropped under 80 dollars a barrel. I also thought the same. We have seen how it has gone: indeed, the government needs even much more than than to pay its expenses (some, including The Economist, put the figure at over $120) but it still in power. The country is crumbling down.
    Now: do you think people are getting used to so much shit that if oil prices were now to climb to 60 or 80 that would be enough to keep Chavismo in power for years to come?

    • Dean A Nash Says:

      Great question, Kepler. M.O., what’s your educated opinion?

      • moctavio Says:

        I think that the Government hassich a hold on power that unless you take to the streetsto protest, they are not going to leave, allow a referendum, thus you are seeing 2019 at least for Chavismo.

        • Dean A Nash Says:

          Hmm, I’ve been saying that, a la Atlas Shrugged, for more than 13 years already. A sit-down strike, properly executed, would topple the regime. If 30K people just surrounded Miraflores by sitting down. No yelling, no screaming, only LOTS and LOTS of cameras to record the government’s violent expulsion, which would come, sooner or later.

          And then, another group of 30K. Repeat until free.

  5. Ira Says:

    What’s this about ex-pats not being able to visit until 2017?

    • IslandCanuck Says:

      What??
      Source??

    • M Rubio Says:

      Haven’t heard anything about expats in particular Ira, but I did hear this. Apparently Maduro has said that anyone leaving the country after May 15, 2016 for the United States cannot return until Jan 2017. In some distorted way this is supposed to do something to halt the movement of dollars on the black market or some such poppycock as that. Honestly, I don’t have a clue what he’s trying to accomplish, but then, neither does he.

      Bizarroworld

      • Ira Says:

        My wife is never strong on the details.

        Unless I did something wrong and she’s yelling at me.

        THAT she remembers everything.

    • IslandCanuck Says:

      M Rubio
      I haven’t read or seen anything like that.
      There must be some confusion about something that came out of his mouth.
      My wife & I are flying out next week for a few weeks and the flights are basically full.
      Santa Barbara has 3 flights a day to Miami, Avior 2 & AA has 1.
      Are you saying none of these people can return until 2017?

      Obviously this is incorrect information.
      Sounds like the untrue rumour from a few weeks ago that was everywhere except in the news outlets (people needed letters of permission to leave the country).

      Venezuelans love rumours!

      • M Rubio Says:

        I’m by no means vouching for the validity of the information, just passing along what someone told me. And yes, Venezuelans love rumors. The problem with some of these rumors that seem so outlandish to any logical person, is that they often turn out to be true. It’s hard to parody these clowns.

    • Daveed Says:

      On May 5 I got the following article, which is by all appearances fake and possibly intended to build traffic. The domain was recently registered by someone in Maturin:
      http://areasaludable.com/2016/05/05/194venezolanos-en-el-extranjero-no-podran-regresar/

      • IslandCanuck Says:

        “…which is by all appearances fake and possibly intended to build traffic.”

        Absolutely

  6. Anti World Order Says:

    Chavistas have killed German Mavare.

  7. M Rubio Says:

    Just when I think it can’t get any more bizarre, it does.

    I had stopped selling my grain corn “detallado” because I wasn’t going to have enough to produce the animal feed I need to meet the demand of my clients.

    Yesterday I had the opportunity to buy a few sacks so I’d have something to sell the locals in my bodega. I paid 300 bs per kilo for yellow corn. 300 bs. The last I sold detallado a couple of weeks ago was at 180 bs per kilo. I’ve had more than one person tell me that in Maturín, if you can find grain corn, it’s trading at 800 bs per kilo….if you can find it.

    Every year I plant 40 or 50 hectares of grain sorghum which I also use in my animal feeds. Two years ago I paid 1550 bs per sack of seed. Last year I paid 3250 per sack. I phoned the company in El Tigre yesterday to reserve 50 sacks for this year and they told me it was 24,000 bs per sack.

    How in the heck are business owners supposed to run a business in this environment???? Oh, that’s right, they don’t want anyone running a business.

    Revolution!!!!! LOL

    • Dr. Faustus Says:

      Interesting post. Here’s what’s scary. Venezuela is a land of price controls, yet the prices that REALLY should be controlled are those related to agriculture, especially seed stocks. Having enough food to eat for the general population is, or should be, the basic tenant of any government. Still, these clowns are so out-of-control that they’re allowing basic seed stocks to rapidly climb the inflationary spiral. That’s really scary.

      • M Rubio Says:

        When Chavez expropriated Agro-Islena, a company that can only be described as the Crown Jewel of the contry’s agricultural industry, the hand writing was on the wall. They turned it into yet another broken and dysfunctional political weapon to be used as a reward to those loyal the the revolution and against those who really produced the majority of the food that Venezuelans ate…….ie “the opposition”.

    • Daveed Says:

      Wow. Thanks for posting this.

    • .5mt Says:

      How is it going with fertilizer?

      • M Rubio Says:

        I’ve not had a single offer to buy fertilizer yet this year though I have contacted a buddy who normally buys 4-5000 sacks per year. He’s waiting on his contacts right now. I’ll need at least 450 each of fertilizer and urea for the 50 hectares of grain sorghum I’ll be planting this year.

        Last year I bought fertilizer and urea in the 500-800 bs per sack range. Sometimes I paid more if it was the right fertilizer. Most of these sales originate with Chavistas who have purchased the material on credit from AgroPatria. They generally plant the corn but things like fertilizer, insecticide, herbicide, and any other products get sold, money goes into their pockets to be spent on rum and cock fighting, and the corn crop fails.

        Back when Agro Islena gave credit to producers, they sent reps out into the field to verify the planting, fertilizing, and harvest in order to protect their investment. I think you can imagine how well that’s managed today. Most of those who do manage to produce a harvest sell the grain corn as quickly and quietly as they can and screw the banks.

        It’s really depressing sometimes to watch it all unfold year after year.

  8. moses Says:

    Here is a sample of a report published daily by the SEn back in 2010 (posted by Jose Aguilar:

  9. Bieler-Romero Says:

    Miguel, here is an interesting paper written by a fellow IVIC researcher of yours. It is written in español.

    https://figshare.com/articles/Pron_sticos_de_cambios_en_la_precipitaci_n_promedio_anual_en_Venezuela_seg_n_modelos_y_escenarios_de_cambio_clim_tico_global/3180454/1

    • moses Says:

      Conclusions ( no nice…)

      Conclusiones
      La mayoría de los escenarios disponibles, basados en interpolaciones y modelos globales sugieren que habrá disminuciones notables en la precipitación en Venezuela, particularmente en el centro y este del territorio nacional, incluyendo la cuenca que alimenta el Guri. Es necesario implementar planes de seguimiento a largo plazo y validar las predicciones de estos modelos con observaciones de campo detalladas, y a la vez desarrollar métodos adaptados a la información local para mejorar la precisión y confianza de estas predicciones.

      conclusions
      Most scenarios available, based on interpolations and global models suggest that there will be significant decreases in rainfall in Venezuela , particularly in the center and east of the country, including the basin that feeds the Guri . It is necessary to implement plans for long-term monitoring and validate the predictions of these models with detailed field observations , and at the same time develop adapted methods to local information to improve the accuracy and reliability of these predictions methods.

  10. moses Says:

    Check forecast by (in my opinion) the best weather forecaster in Venezuela: http://www.forometeo.com.ve/foro/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=1051&p=4429#p4429

  11. IslandCanuck Says:

    Latest from Corpolec:

    Al 02 de mayo de 2016:
    241,57 m.s.n.m.

    That’s still only 1.5 m above the critical point
    Hope the rains keep up but it’s still a little early
    This could just be a short lived reprieve.

  12. Rafael Says:

    les dejo un comentario leído en aporrea por si les interesa

    “Lastimosamente, debo decirlo, el pueblo venezolano en su mayoría no esta formado para el trabajo honesto, para ser empresario y, mucho menos para surgir con sacrificio. Si no, para aprovechar las oportunidades, para amasar fortuna, lucrarse, apropiarse de los recursos de otros y, peor aun, del estado.”
    (http://www.aporrea.org/actualidad/a227290.html)

    Esto es sinceridad y lo demás son tonterías


  13. Rangel says Guri water level has increased 15 cm.

    • Ira Says:

      I’m surprised they made this announcement:

      Blackouts will continue for dozens of reasons…regardless of water level…and now they can’t blame these outages on rainfall and God.

      Having no one else to blame for their incompetence isn’t their style.

      • Michael Says:

        But Ira, you forgot the ever present threat of sabotage. Enemies of the state are everywhere waiting to strike.

        And the Evil Empire, there is always the Evil Empire.

  14. Lee Kuan Yew Says:

    So if it rains, and a few containers with imported food hit Pto. Cabello, and the Colas aren’t that long, and the bachaqueros find you anything you need, and you don’t get killed for a pair of shoes next weekend, and there’s some water in the tank, and enchufes and guisos with the criminal regime, everyone’s happy?

    If there dollar keeps hovering around 1100bs, inflation at 200%, everyone’s happy? Apparently.. Somehow, there’s plenty of Cash going around in the streets. Somehow… a “minimum salary” of 12$/month suffices for many pueblo people. Somehow…

    17 years of Chavismo, and counting. And no one hits the streets. No referendum, no crap. Looks like they’re headed for the next stolen presidential elections in 2019. Sarna con gusto no pica.. Let it rain! God forbid the lights go out, and the free cable TV with the latest Soap opera episode is missed.

    Looks like Cubazuela is headed for another decade of massive corruption, at all levels. Apparently, millions and millions like the mess they are in, they certainly do absolutely nothing to fix it.

    • m_astera Says:

      Thanks much for your comments on this thread, Lee Kuan. Beautifully written and argued and I couldn’t agree more with your conclusions.

  15. IslandCanuck Says:

    Rained most of the day here in Margarita yesterday.
    First significant rain since December.

    Of course most of the Island lost power for varying lengths due to the salt build up on the transformers & insulators. Popping and banging all over the Island.
    There has been NO maintenance for years.
    I remember the big trucks with power sprayers that used to was the lines every few months.
    Not any more.

  16. moctavio Says:

    According to El Universal, the water level went up 7 cms. To 241.42 mts.

  17. Ira Says:

    At the risk of incurring the wrath of the OT Gestapo (who was that guy, anyway?)…

    All weekend, BBC a World News has been running a crawl under their broadcasts, but they never do a story on it. It simply says:

    “Venezuelans lose sleep to save power.”

    What the hell are they trying to say?

    Three days now, and this is driving me fucking nuts trying to figure out!

    Because of the time change!?

    • IslandCanuck Says:

      The time was moved forward ½ hour so Instead of waking up at 6 AM it would be 5.30 AM at the old time.

      The benefit is that we gain ½ hour more sunlight in the evening.

  18. M Rubio Says:

    Decent rains here yesterday, much harder today……several hours in fact starting at about 7AM. Haven’t looked at the radar, but if what’s falling in this área (halfway between Maturín and Barcelona) is falling in the Guri basin, it will eventually make a difference.

  19. moctavio Says:

    Rain has been very significant in the last day.

  20. Dr. Faustus Says:

    A little bit off topic. While everyone is watching the drama at the Guri dam, few people are taking notice as to what is taking place at Punto Fijo. The Amuay and Cordon refineries are falling apart, big time. Today the Amuay “cracker” stopped functioning. Who’s gonna pay for those expensive repairs? Are there any competent engineers monitoring that situation, especially now that Schlumberger has left the scene? Everywhere you look in Venezuela many of the sophisticated engineered facilities are now breaking down. Lack of maintenance. Incompetent engineers. Nobody cares. The perfect storm of complete disaster is approaching.
    http://lta.reuters.com/article/topNews/idLTAKCN0XR0IX

    • Boludo Tejano Says:

      Are there any competent engineers monitoring that situation, especially now that Schlumberger has left the scene?

      Schlumberger’s specialty is related to drilling wells: wireline logging: dropping tools down a borehole to determine if there is oil and gas in the formations being drilled.

      I doubt Schlumberger had much to do with oil refineries.

      The main issue with refineries is not the loss of foreign expertise, as PDVSA has been doing the refining itself for decades. By contrast, PDVSA has nearly always farmed out wireline logging to Schlumberger. The main issue with the refineries is deterioration in plant maintenance under the decade-plus that Chavismo has controlled PDVSA.

      Back in 2007, CC had a posting on a blowout at a drilling rig in Anaco. Unfortunately, the comments have been lost due to software updates. In response to the article, I got in touch with a petroleum engineering consultant I once knew. He replied that he had made a number of inspection trips to Venezuela, and had noted the increased deterioration in equipment every year. This was back in 2007.

      If the deterioration in equipment was marked in 2007, consider how much worse the deterioration has gotten by 2016. Another way of looking at problem with the refineries is that competent Venezuelan engineers “left the scene” in 2003 by virtue of being fired for participation in the PDVSA strike.

      Several years ago there was a big fire at a refinery- Amuay, IIRC.

  21. M Rubio Says:

    We’re up to 4 hours a day without power here, sometimes more. Just a few weeks ago, since we’re hooked into a local PDVSA station, blackouts had been rare. The natives are getting very restless, especially when they learn Caracas and Vargas generally have power 24 hours per day.

  22. moses Says:

    Latest warning from Jose Aguilar ( @800GWHMWH ) about Guri:

  23. moses Says:

    Before we run out of electriity and access to internet, check latest news on Guri here:

    http://www.lossinluzenlaprensa.com/

    https://twitter.com/800gwhmwh?lang=es


  24. […] Tale of Two incompetences: The Electric Crisis and The Bill supply, Miguel Octavio, The Devil’s Excrement […]

  25. Lee Kuan Yew Says:

    The thing about water and, especially, electricity, is that “el pueblo” really gets pissed off when it gets cut-off. And they know the Chavista criminal regime is responsible for THAT, no “economic wars”, not the “imperio”, not the “burguesitos de la ultra-derecha”. Even the most uneducated, gullible pueblo people probably don’t buy the excuses about the drought, or el Niño..

    That’s why Chavez Pajarito Supremo ordered so many power plants, and spent Billions of $$$ pretending to buy them. He knew the political cost of electricity black-outs is worse than world-record crime, world-record inflation, or world-record corruption in world-record 37 “ministries”. Venezuelans seem to tolerate anything, endless, daily Colas for food, even 12$/month salaries. Even lack of medicines, and dying relatives in horrible hospitals. But don’t you dare shut off the AC cool air in Maracaibo!! Massive protests.

    Tragically, all the Billions of US$ Chabestia allocated for power plants, etc, were simply stolen, at all levels in Corpoelec, not just the Derwicks. The few, used plants that made it to Kleptozuela are not working, many rotting out there in abandoned yards, and of course, zero maintenance, because there’s no money to steal there, to much work too in that, so forget it.

    The electricity thing is hurting the Chavista thugs. More than anything else, even lack of purchasing power or food. Because people find ways to survive, bachaqueado, tigritos, guisos, segundas, palancas, cuanto’hay’pa esos, etc. But they have no control over Electricity. Water? They store it in tanks, inventan tambien. But when the lights go out, y no hay Novela, no TV, no AC, no lights, that’s when they really get angry. And the only culprit is Maduro/Cabello, (unless they think Maria Lionza is against them, some curse, and the rain stopped falling).

    That’s why even Masburro knows not to cut off Caracas from the power grid, and is taking desperate measures to save energy. Too late, of course. The damage to the grid is done, even if it rains and pours everyday for the next decade.

  26. Dr. Faustus Says:

    One more comment on those turbines at Guri. Who makes the decision WHEN to shut-down those turbines. an engineer or the Minister of Energy? If they wait too long and damage THOSE turbines, how will they assign the blame? This is really scary stuff going-on right now. When to pull the plug…

    • Lee Kuan Yew Says:

      It would probably come down to Masburro, Diablodado or Aristobulo, or the Castros and the Military bosses. Big decisions like that are handled by the biggest crooks. The turbines were already damaged before, and if it comes down to it, they will damage them even more. Whatever it takes to stay in power a few more years, and continue to build up those massive retirement accounts, buy that dream apartment in the Caribbean.. and make sure the entire family has it made for life after Chavismo falls.

    • IslandCanuck Says:

      I would agree that it will be a political decision not an engineering one.

      I have a feeling that sometime over the weekend they will do the deed.
      They will also announce a miserable increase to the minimum wage for May 1 to dull the blow.

      Knee jerk reactions to problems they created that won’t go away.

      Their previous inaction on important decisions does not bode well for these turbines.
      They still haven’t set the requirements for the new DICOM exchange system that they promised weeks ago.

  27. Ramón Says:

    Aquí les dejo un excelente tweet de una maestra que se explica por sí mismo

    30 alumnos y 1 maestro, 1aula, 1 aire 4 luces. 31 casas, 20 aires, 11 ventiladores, 31 cargadores, 20 computadoras, 5 tabletas, 31 teléfonos
    Marial ‏@marialvidalv Apr 26

  28. IslandCanuck Says:

    In this morning’s newspaper from Zulia “Version Final” the headline is:

    “Imminent stop to the Guri turbines”

    “5 principal turbines are now showing abnormal vibrations due to lack of water
    Sources at Corpolec are evaluating shutting down 10 turbines to protect them.
    They are predicting blackouts of up to 12 hours.”

    The thing is once they shut down these turbines it’s not just for a day or two.
    We’re probably looking at late June or early July before they’ll be able to restart them unless there are heavy rains.

    • Dr. Faustus Says:

      Wow. Thanks for posting that. When they do shut them down, this story will go around the world…

    • Ira Says:

      Why does it take so long to restart them?

      Because of needed repair?

      • Michael Says:

        Because you need a larger amount of water passing through the turbines to get them up to speed. Once they are up to speed the amount of water needed to keep that speed is much less.
        Think of an automobile. It takes much more power from the engine to get it to cruising speed than it takes to keep it there.

        What did Newton say? A body in motion tends to stay in motion, a body at rest tends to stay at rest?

        • Ira Says:

          Thanks for the
          explanation.

          But wouldn’t they still turn them back on as soon as possible anyway, and NOT wait for optimal water level to get them to top speed? I mean, they’re still on now, right?

          Or are they indeed at top speed now, despite the low level?

  29. FrankPintor Says:

    I have a stupid question: why on Earth does anyone in Venezuela need that much cash? How many 747’s full? I mean, nobody buys so much as an arepa without a debit card, there’s a “punto” in every café, shop, restaurant, kiosk, shack… the only things you need cash for that come to mind right now are taxis and buses. What are they doing with all that cash?

    • moctavio Says:

      Two reasons: Largets bill is like 9 cents and half the country does not have a bank account.

    • Alex Dalmady Says:

      “Puntos” don’t work without electricity. Outside Caracas that’s several hours every day. My wife is dealing with this right now in Coro.

  30. moses Says:

    Updated Guri Levels:= (Corpoelec data unless noted)

    Date Level [mts.]

    12/04/2016 242,98
    13/04/2016 242,88
    14/04/2016 242,77
    21/04/2016 242,07
    25/04/2016 241,67 (estimate by @800GWHMWH )
    26/04/2016 241,60

    It is now dropping at 7 cms per day.

    Somewhere (can’t find the link) finally the Government published incoming flow rates (around 1,300 cubic meters / second) and outgoing flow – through turbines: (around 3,900 cubic meters per second). The level will drop until incoming flow is higher than outgoing flow..

  31. Bruni Says:

    If something like what you are describing, Miguel, happened here in Québec, the President of Hydro-Quebec would be called to explain what is going on.

    In January 5th 1998 there was a massive ice storm in the Province and part of Hydro-Québec power towers went down isolating some cities and leaving a very large part of the Province without power for days, and some, for weeks. It was a catastrophic event that may happen once in hundreds of years, but it happened and the towers could not stand the weight of the ice. 20 days later, a scientific commission was put in place to study the cause of the storm, the emergency response of Hydro-Québec and how to make sure that the reliability of the power system was increased so that the shut down did not happen again. As a result, HQ put a lot of redundancy in the system, so that even in catastrophic event like the ice storm, damage would be minimized.

    I don’t understand why this is not happening in Venezuela. Regardless of the government, the National Assembly has the power to call the President of Edelca and the Ministry of Energy to get a technical view of what is going on. And it also has the power to create a technical commission, like they did with the ice storm here in Québec.

  32. Lee Kuan Yew Says:

    And even educated people here keep talking about water levels, rain, el Niño and the freaking Guri Damn.. Every one of the thousands of Venezuelan engineers, power-generation specialist, even average, low level workers know about water levels, and possible droughts, lack of maintenance, etc.

    An entire country cannot rely on just one damn, and the weather, rain or shine, to supply electric power. Even Chavistas know that perfectly well. “Ah, si no llueve nos jodimos”.. type of attitute. Heck, that’s why el Pajarito Comandante Supremo Eterno allocated Billions and Billions of USD back around 2005-2009, because everyone knew the shyt would one day hit the fan, and the lights would go out, and people would get pissed.

    What happened with all that money? STOLEN. Simple as that. Not “incompetence”, supreme Competence at stealing it, and running way with the cash, and hiding it overseas. Very adept at that, huh? Pro-Energy here in the USA must have made a fortune too on those those bogus deals..

    El Guri… El Niño, La sequia.. gimme a break.

  33. Lee Kuan Yew Says:

    People keep talking about “Chavismo Incompetence”. When will you all wake up and call a spade a spade? It’s all about THEFT. Galactic Corruption, at all levels.

    That’s it.

    Certainly, there is the criollo Ignorance and high levels of poor education. The Engineers left in Kleptozuela are probably not the best in the world. But talk to many of them (they are all over twitter, etc) they know EXACTLY what should have been done, or should be done now to get proper electricity supply.

    It is not Rocket Science, you know? You get REAL power plants, not like the ones the Derwick Thieves failed to deliver, or delivered used, at a 30000/% mark-up, stealing a cool Billion USD.

    You Maintain the grid. Kid’s play too. It’s cables, stations, sub-stations. I worked for years with Edelca, back in the 90’s, sure, we were the French “experts” (Spie Batignolles), but plenty of local Engineers knew how the system worked, and we built the 3rd buigest transmission line, from Sta Teresa to Ciudad Bolivar, 800 KVA. But that was a massive building project, with 1000 workers on 5 sites.

    Then you have to Maintain it. Venezuelan technicians know EXACTLY what is required. Spare parts, labor, projections, supervision, decent work. The basics. Guess WHY they don’t maintain anything? There’s no $$$$$ to STEAL there. Comprende? The money is elsewhere, is bogus contracts, in fake “contratistas” that do not deliver, in abandoned, used power plants all over the country.

    Enough about this “incompetence talk”. Even the Devil acknowledges here that the best Engineers and technicians were fired by Chavismo. In Corpoelec, same as in PDVSA, btw.

    WHY?

    Because they would not STEAL and be complicit with the criminal regime, of course, that’s why. But again, even whatever’s left of crooked, Chavista Corpoelec or PDVSA technical people, they know EXACTLY what should be done to deliver higher production and proper service. Heck, most readers of this blog know what should be done.

    It ain’t “Incompetence” or cluelesness, they are not even trying!! Same as the economy, they know exactly what should be done. Why the stupid exchange controls and all the other retarded measures, or inactivity? To STEAL more, do you comprehend the reason? Not because they don’t know that what they have in place does not work. Of course they do!! All you have to do is copy what works in many countries, hire a few hundred specialists from other countries (or bring back guys like Coronel in PDVSA, thousands of Venezuelan Engineers know what’s up, and how to fix it.

    Pero porque??? CORRUPTION, not “ineptitude”, or “socialist ideology”. No.

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    I hope one day many of you will understand the simple cause, instead of providing all of these convoluted, complicated depictions and false explanations for a very simple reality.

    • Ira Says:

      So according to you, thousands of qualified power and oil weren’t fired to make room for unqualified, loyal Chavistas?

      This never happened?

  34. Michael Says:

    moctavio, you left out one calamity that is coming very soon and is possibly the worst in many peoples minds. What happens when the beer runs out?

    • moses Says:

      In case of Polar, the beer business will no longer keep afloat the Food business (Harina Pan, Mazeite, etc.) which is losing money due to price controls,so soon we will have food shortages of Harina Pan, Mazeite,etc.

      People will not “eat” Regional beer, which has access to preferential dollars …

      • M Rubio Says:

        Soon we will have food shortages of Harina Pan, Mazeite, etc? Those days, my friend, came and went long ago.

      • Michael Says:

        The point I was trying to make is that something as simple as a cold beer can be a great comfort. I remember when I was a kid during the hot muggy New Jersey summers in the the 50’s and my old man would come home from a day of cutting enormously large and heavy pieces of sheet metal into smaller pieces of sheet metal. He took two buses to get home and the last left him off next to a liquor store. He would get one, maybe two cans of cold beer and those two beers meant a lot to him.

        Perhaps you don’t know what something as simple as a cold beer on a hot night meant to a man like my father.

        Now in Venezuela, not only is there no electricity to make a beer cold, there is no beer, period.

  35. Dean A Nash Says:

    The sooner Venezuela collapses, the sooner the country can begin the long slog back to modernity. I truly feel for the innocents who are suffering from the man-made disaster that is Chavismo (aka Socialism).

  36. Soozzee Says:

    I wondered about what button would need to be pushed to get the people upset and into the the streets to protest. I think Chavo has found it. Now for the button in the US, if Donny gets the drone button.

  37. Ira Says:

    Can you imagine the corruption going with the guy and company responsible for printing the money?

    “I forgot–print an extra 5 billion B’s and put them in the trunk of my car.

    “And print an extra billion for yourself for your efforts!”

    • Dr. Faustus Says:

      Can you imagine the utter stupidity of printing g’zillion’s of 100 Bolivar notes at an overseas printing press, shrink-wrapping them, loading them onto wooden pallets, placing all the accumulated pallets into a large truck convoy, forming a massive police-protected caravan from the plant to say.. Heathrow or some-such, loading/stuffing them into expensive 747 freighters, flying them into Maiquetia and landing/unloading in the dead of the night with snipers on rooftops, then transporting all of this utterly useless paper to the BCV, using yet another police convoy, instead of stopping first at the local Mercado, on the way to the BCV, where contents of the massive pallets could easily sell like hot-cakes were these same notes to be placed on the empty shelves of aisle 5, section 12, of “toilette paper products?” Just imagine if one of these fools had thought to print a novelty item, say a 5000 Bolivar note, instead of a run-of-the-mill 100? They would be in high demand (!) all over Venezuela, particularly in Aisle 5, Section 12..

  38. moses Says:

    Miguel, here are some data of Guri levelsI have gathered from several places:

    Date Level

    12/04/2016 242,98
    13/04/2016 242,88
    14/04/2016 242,77
    21/04/2016 242,07
    26/04/2016 241,58

    Last is estimate from Jose Aguilar @800GWHMWH. It keeps going down at 10 cms per day.

    Here they say that if Casa de Maquinas II is taken out of service there will be problems around the country with the AC frequency (60 HZ):

    http://www.noticierodigital.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19791&sid=2ebc4deb5b891721318ecadd5cd6a810&start=1155

  39. Jim Says:

    My first job in Venezuela back in the 1970s was with the Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana and once I got to tour the mighty Guri. It was magnificent and I am saddened to hear that it has been so horribly mismanaged. Que triste!

  40. Charlie Says:

    “………there has been a lot of rain in the last ten days and the level keeps dropping”. Is this rain in the Guri basin? If so, why does the level keep dropping?

    • moctavio Says:

      Yes it is, the rainfall has doubled from what I reported in that post and its comments in all stations in the basin of the dam. I suspect there are many factors, including large empty and dry areas that need to be filled before the whole water level moves up. The 241.6 is the water right up to the dam wall only. Drybed needs to soak up first before it holds water. There may be many reasons, hope people that really know what they are talking about will make suggestions.

      • TV Says:

        Plus that what you’ve mentioned before, you need more water for a similar amount of power generation if the water level is lower. Guri is probably operating at near peak capacity in order to reduce outages a little more. I imagine this is quite bad for the turbines as well, due to cavitation. With a little bad luck the whole Guri system will be rendered permanently inoperable this year.

      • TV Says:

        Oh and yeah, can you post a link to the currently updated levels of water at Guri? I can only find up to April 13th, at 242.88 meters. Thanks 🙂

      • IslandCanuck Says:

        From Corpolec website:

        Al 25 de abril de 2016:
        241,67 m.s.n.m.

        • TV Says:

          Thanks! The site was offline for the past couple of days, due to “technical difficulties”. At any rate, the drop appears to be around 10 cm/day from mid-march. 16 days to apocalypse, if nothing changes.

          • Daveed Says:

            Remember that the yearly low point is reached around May 10. The regime likely thinks if they can make it past that point without a general blackout, they are home free!

            • TV Says:

              Quite possibly. But if they do so they’ll probably destroy the turbines in the process. Yay :/


    • The water has to flow from where it falls to the Caroní River, which in turn has to increase its flow rate above the withdrawal rate. A water turbine output depends on fluid energy, a function of mass and velocity. Velocity is a function of pressure drop, and pressure drop depends on the height of water above the turbine.

      To generate the same amount of electricity X when fluid level is critically low the water inlet rate has to increase. When pressure is low within the conduits due to low level, the turbulent flow can cause local low pressure areas which lead to cavitation. Cavitation can damage the turbine.

      I’m not well informed about their particular design and layout, but it’s possible they feel a need to generate at a minimum level, which requires more rate to offset the low water level (which leads to lower pressure and energy at the turbine inlet). As the water level drops the problem gets worse.

      Because cavitation is such a serious problem, it’s wise to add safety margins to the calculated cavitation lines. This means they may be operating within this error margin. Which means that cavitation may take place in very short order.

      Does anybody know if the turbine inlet temperature is running hotter than normal? This could throw the estimates off. I mention it because we have had an El Niño, and this caused a fairly high temperature spike in the global surface and tropospheric temperature. Temperatures are starting to return to normal, I see it’s raining all over Venezuela and Colombia, but the next two to three weeks will be interesting. I wouldn’t buy any Venezuelan bonds.

      • Ramón Says:

        Un excelente comentario que aclara las cosas. Los periódicos ni de lejos se preocupan por la temperatura de las turbinas. Gracias entonces y coincido con usted, estas dos o tres semanas serán “interesantes”. Todo es tan delirante en el gobierno venezolano que pueden terminar viendose obligados a cerrar la presa.

  41. Charly Says:

    To declare that the bureaucrats will have time off from Wednesday to Sunday does not change anything, it just officialise the fact they have their thumb up their …. rather than work.

  42. Lobo Says:

    One of your best ever Miguel. Bien hecho.


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