Home to one of the world's most extensive oil and natural-gas reserves, energy-rich Venezuela is nevertheless experiencing serious power problems at the moment, grappling with an acute electricity crisis that has resulted in rationing, rolling blackouts, and periodic protests. The government blames Mother Nature. In recent months, a prolonged drought has parched the country, causing severe water shortages. A side effect has been decreased water flow (and thus reduced capacity) to the massive Guri Dam, a 10,200-megawatt behemoth that supplies more than 70% of the country's electricity. Located along Bolivar State's Rio Caroni, the 1,300-meter-long dam officially called the Central Hidroelectrica Simon Bolivar is the world's third largest after the Three Gorges Dam (18,300 MW) in China and the Itaipu complex (14,000 MW) along the Brazil-Paraguay border. Analysts say the crisis has more behind it than just weather, citing long-term planning and greater investment as measures the government which nationalized the electricity sector in 2007 should have taken to avoid such an "all-eggs-in-one-basket" scenario. Critics of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez say electricity price subsidies are also to blame, fueling an ongoing consumption spike that saw demand jump 25% between 2004 and 2009, according to the state-run Corporacion Electrica Nacional (CORPOELEC). Demand rose 7% last year alone. Warning of electricity "collapse" Whatever the cause, both the government and its opponents agree the energy crisis is severe.
NotiSur. "Electricity Crisis Spells Dark Days for Country." (2010). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/la_energy_notien/153