Widespread Blackouts in Venezuela Could Be New Normal, Experts Warn

Widespread electricity outages could become the new normal in Venezuela, experts have warned, as the country struggled to restore power after a massive blackout that left millions without power or access to the internet. From a report: The energy minister, Freddy Brito, said on Tuesday morning that power had been restored in Caracas and at least five states after the outage which the government blamed on an “electromagnetic attack” at hydroelectric dams in the south of the country. About 80% of Venezuela’s grid is served by hydropower. But energy analysts were deeply suspicious of government claims, arguing instead that years of corruption and mismanagement have eroded Venezuela’s energy capacity. “This blackout is the result of negligent mis-operation of the power grid,” said Jose Aguilar, a Venezuelan energy and risk consultant based in the US. “These will keep happening and it will get worse before it gets better.”

Other analysts express similar incredulity. “It’s hard to believe that it was an electromagnetic attack, when you’ve seen years of theft and corruption in the energy sector,” said Geoff Ramsey, an analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America. “This blackout shows government doesn’t have the tools to return to normalcy.” Some supporters of Nicolas Maduro have claimed that US sanctions aimed at Venezuela’s oil industry have hampered his government’s ability to keep the lights on, but many of those sanctions target individuals accused corruption.

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