Venezuela, which boasts the world’s largest oil reserves, is having trouble keeping the lights on. On Tuesday, the government announced it was cutting public-sector work hours and requiring energy hogs to produce their own electricity during peak hours.
The announcement comes as authorities said they’ve seen a spike in electricity use amid a heat wave.
Among the measures announced, many public offices will only be open from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. — except for key posts, including food and water distribution, the financial sector, mail delivery, and air-traffic controllers, among others. Public entities will also have to reduce power consumption by 20 percent.
“The system is beginning to have instability problems and we must take preventative actions to face the increased electricity demand,” Electricity Minister Jesse Chacón said in a statement. He also said energy consumption had spiked 1,500 megawatts in the last week amid rising temperatures.
The announcements came as parts of eastern Caracas were already seeing energy rationing. Corpelec said Tuesday it was cutting power to avoid overloading transformers.
Vice President Jorge Arreaza said large private-sector consumers, including malls, hotels and factories, would have to reduce their output and generate their own electricity during peak hours from noon until 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
The government didn’t say how long the measure would last.