Sian Crampsie

Venezuela’s government has implemented rolling blackouts and imposed a two-day working week for government workers in response to the country’s severe power crisis.

President Nicolas Maduro said that the two-day week would last for at least two weeks and would help to reduce energy consumption.

It has been imposed alongside a programme of four-hour rolling blackouts for most states.

The power crisis is the result of a severe drought in Venezuela that has affected water levels at the Guri dam, the country’s main source of electricity. Maduro said that Venezuela had requested emergency help from the United Nations to help it recover from the crisis.

Water levels at Guri have fallen to just over 241 m, according to state utility Corpoelec. If levels drop below 240 m, the firm may have to shut down units at the plant.

The 8900 MW Guri hydropower plant on the Caroni River meets around 60 per cent of Venezuela’s electricity demand.

Venezuela’s 2.8 million state workers had already been given Fridays off in April and May. Shopping centres have also been told to reduce their opening hours.

Venezuela’s economy has already been hit by the decline in oil prices and the current energy crisis is likely to further inhibit economic growth.