Corpoelec interventions: is it getting better, or do you feel the same?

BltNj6LIYAAle8j.jpg largeLast Holy Saturday was not “glorious” at all for people in several parts of the country, as electrical blackouts affected their holiday. In the states of Mérida, Táchira and Zulia the problem continued over the weekend.

While parts of North Maracaibo were left in the dark on Easter Sunday night, the situation in the Andes was critical. The opposition mayor of Mérida, Carlos Garcia, was livid that parts of the city were left without power for 24 hours, and called out CORPOELEC as responsible. The state-owned generator in turn put the blame on a faulty transmission tower. Days later, the blackouts keep on going.

The reality on the ground stands in sharp contrast with the sheer bravado officials are recently displaying. Earlier in the week, CORPOELEC’s major projects director Wilfredo Morales was in Maracaibo souding pretty confident about the current state of our national powergrid. In his own words, “…the (electrical) system has been taken care of and it’s well-balanced in order to provide a better service…”.

Weeks ago, the government formally ended the (almost) year-long “intervention” of the National Electric Corporation, and gave full reins to Electricity Minister Jesse Chacón as chairman of the board. Chacón sounded quite bullish when he said that “…both electrical generation and demand were stabilized last year”. Oh, and by the way, energy prices will go up.

But not everyone inside the electric sector is raving: workers’ unions are not happy that CORPOELEC refuses to enforce judicial decisions. The many promises of raising salaries and improving work conditions have not been kept either. The Executive Secretary of Siprecec (Carabobo State’s Electric Workers Union) Jairo Marín, was way more direct about the whole thing:

The intervention of CORPOELEC didn’t exist for the workers and it didn’t have any effect in the company at all. It was only a measure to replace the president of the corporation at the time…”

“…the only real change was the face of Argenis Chávez for the one of Jesse Chacón.”

Not that Argenis Chávez is having a bad time. He got himself one hell of a promotion. Meanwhile, preventive blackouts are still happening in other parts of the country, including in my neighborhood two days a week. As the situation repeats itself in different parts of the country, the supposed end of a crisis that began years ago seems way premature.

9 thoughts on “Corpoelec interventions: is it getting better, or do you feel the same?

  1. Great post Geha. I must sat, the courage displayed by some of our union leaders puts a lot of us to shame.

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  2. Imagine how dire the situation would be if the economy was growing, tourism was flourishing and people weren’t leaving the country in droves. I guess ‘demand has been stabilised’ because of all those idle factories and people who can’t afford to turn on the a/c.

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  3. I am going to ask a stupid but necessary question: is someone trying to to gauge as objectively as possibly the average blackouts in Venezuela? I know it is extremely difficult: Caracas and some better-off areas in a couple of other cities have a much much better service (just utterly crappy instead of rural-Cuba-crappy).
    Of course, millions of Venezuelans take the electricity illegally, so they have many more blackouts.
    Still: has someone tried to record how many hours they lose electricity in Barquisimeto, Eastern, Western Caracas, Maracaibo downtown, etc?

    As a reference: in Germany the average customer had to deal with power blackouts about 16 minutes (take or add a couple of seconds) in one whole year.

    In Venezuela it seems few remember during the IV we didn’t need “suspenciones planificadas de la electricidad” for regular maintenance. Now that’s the norm everywhere outside Caracas

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  4. and its not just electricity – we are now nearly three months with no cooking gas in our apartment building in Valencia – so we use more electricity (when there is any) for our little 2 ring cooker….

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  5. Wasn’t there a “100 days”-thing from Senor Chacon?

    Was it a typo and a zero was accidentally left off? I’m worried he might voluntarily lose his job if he can’t fix this!

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  6. I wonder what people who live through these black outs in different cities feel when hearing or reading the statements of the regime bigwigs boasting of how perfect things are know thanks to their management of the country . I dont think they are going to be appeased or pleased by what they hear , instead they are going to see those statements as cynical and offensive , as veritable slaps in their face , nor are they going to stay silent about it when they talk to their relatives or friends from other places where there have been no black outs . It must be frustrating for the govt to see how their make believe, tenderly crafted messages in the media are destroyed and turned into collective anger as these blackouts and other failures in govt run activities are repeatedly experienced all throughout the country !!

    This is what makes me doubt that the communicational guarimba the govt has set up is going to be as effective as they think itll be .!!.

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  7. The fantasy – Corpolec announced last week the installation of a new 60 MW generator to add to Margarita’s power supply.

    The reality – just this week alone there have been multiple programmed blackouts that roll around the Island – usually lasting 90 to 120 minutes. We’ve had 3 in the last 7 days. One was last night at 8 PM for 90 minutes just as we were relaxing for an evening of TV. Corpolec has not offered any explanations.

    HidroCaribe is also contributing to the Island’s woes.
    Some areas have not had any water for weeks. There have been regular road closings in protest.
    HidroCaribe has not offerred any reason for the problem.
    Rumours abound. A missing part from a main pump is unattainable (no $$?).
    One of the main pipe lines to Margarita is broken & may be too difficult to fix.
    We have 2 water pipelines on the bed of the ocean from the mainland to Margarita.
    No one knows what the real answer is.

    It’s almost like if we don’t talk about it no one is going to notice that they don’t have light or water.

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