In 2007 President Hugo Chavez turned Venezuela’s clocks back 30 minutes so that the sun would be already up when school children woke and got out of bed.
The government just announced that, effective with May, they were turning the time forward 30 minutes, overturning Chavez’s policy. That will put Venezuela more in tune with how the rest of the world tells time, but it’s not meant to make children wake up in the darkness. It’s to save power. The new time will extend the evening by 30 minutes, so people will not need to turn on electric lights as early, “conserving electrical power ” says Jose Manuel Gonzalez.
The country is suffering from a shortage of electrical power which the government blames on the drought. The El Nino weather has lowered the water level of the reservoir which powers Venezuela’s hydroelectric power.
Government offices and government-owned companies are been ordered to reduce their use of electricity by 20 percent.
Blackouts are becoming increasingly common according to Jose Manuel in parts of the country. To save on power, public sector employees have been put on a four-day workweek, and their Easter vacation was extended.
The president, Nicolas Maduro, has been asking people to dry clothes on old-fashioned clothes lines insteady of using hair dryers.
Opposition leaders are criticizing the government for underinvesting in hydroelectrical power generation.
Venezuela has large reserves of oil fields, but the government resists calls to burn crude to produce electricity because the process is inefficient.