Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has designated every Friday in April and May as a non-working holiday in a bid to save electricity during prolonged drought, according to Bloomberg.
The 60-day energy conservation plan includes asking large users such as shopping malls and hotels to generate their own electricity for nine hours a day. Heavy industries operating in the country will be asked to cut consumption by 20 per cent, the report said.
“This plan for 60 days, for two months, will allow the country to get through the most difficult period with the most risk,” President Maduro said in a televised appearance.
“I call on families, on the youth, to join this plan with discipline, with conscience and extreme collaboration to confront this extreme situation.”
Maduro recently shut down the country for a week over the Easter holiday in March, giving workers three additional days off. According to the president, those efforts saved almost 22cm of water at Guri Dam in the southern state of Bolivar, which supplies as much as 75 per cent of the electricity consumed in the capital, Caracas.
Guri Dam levels are currently at approximately 243m. Bloomberg reported that if water levels at the dam fall below 240m above sea level, the government may have to shut down the plant to avoid damaging turbines – a move that would undoubtedly lead to increased rationing.