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Venezuelans continue suffering through electricity blackouts

Entrepreneurs say state-run Corpoelec is hurting their business

Venezuelans shop at a market in San Cristobal where power outtages add to the stress of a struggling economy. Cody Weddle/Local 10 News
Venezuelans shop at a market in San Cristobal where power outtages add to the stress of a struggling economy. Cody Weddle/Local 10 News

SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela – Venezuela's state-run electrical company Corpoelec continues to create difficulties for the residents of San Cristobal in the western state of Tachira. 

Corpoelec's rickety infrastructure isn't prepared for the unpredictability of hydroelectricity. When there is drought, the Guri dam and the Fabricio Ojeda dam water levels are low and there aren't other options. 

The opposition deputy for Tachira state, Franklin Duarte, said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's administration isn't doing enough. 

"The light is out in the morning, the afternoon, at night, early in the morning, the light is out," Duarte said in Spanish. "The truth is that there hasn’ been investment here, there hasn’t been an investment on electrical energy. [The government] hasn’t invested one bolivar in machinery. The employees abandoned the country, resigned." 

Entrepreneurs say the blackouts are making doing business in Tachira difficult. While they are already dealing with hyperinflation, some say the outages are damaging their equipment and they are having to spend on surge protectors and generators.

"The apparatuses have burned. The merchandise has been damaged, and with the devaluation that we are living anything costs too much," said Franklin Plaza, a butcher. 

When the credit card machines and the bill counting machines are down,  Plaza and others are forced to close shop for the day. And for those who opt to buy generators, the devices need gas to run and that means having to wait for hours in line at gas stations. 

Maduro supporter Lisandro Cabello, government secretary in the state of Zulia, told reporters last month that the summer solstice was to blame and not Corpoelec or the Maduro administration. 

"It is because we are very close to the Sun … It is hot here. That just makes the situation more serious," Cabello said in Spanish.

Earlier this year, Tachira Gov. Laidy Gomez told Reuters that three people -- including a four-month-old baby -- died during a power outage making medical equipment useless. 

 


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