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Economy

What Fueled Venezuela's Electricity Crisis?

In its accelerated growth, the country failed to generate enough energy to meet sustained demand.
People walk past a closed store at a mall in Caracas. Shopping centers are scaling back hours of operation to save energy, causing an uproar among consumers.
People walk past a closed store at a mall in Caracas. Shopping centers are scaling back hours of operation to save energy, causing an uproar among consumers.Reuters/Marco Bello

In battling its power crisis, Venezuela seems to be pulling out all the stops—well, almost. First, President Nicolas Maduro shut down the country for a week in March, giving citizens an extra three days off of work over the Easter holiday. Then it made every Friday a holiday for the next two months as part of a 60-day plan to curb electricity usage.

Earlier this April, the president called on women to stop using hairdryers, and to save them only for “special occasions.” He also asked citizens to hang their clothes instead of using dryers and to embrace the heat. Most recently, he rationed electricity for 15 shopping malls and announced that he was changing the time zone to save power—something his predecessor Hugo Chavez did in 2007.