Nationwide Power Outages Sending Venezuela Back to the Dark Ages

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Bob Adelmann
Monday, 11 March 2019

Most of Venezuela is without power, and what little is available is unreliable and intermittent. It started last Thursday with the failure of the San Geronimo B power station that transmits electric power from the country’s enormous Guri hydroelectric power plant. Guri supplies 80 percent of the country’s power, while a smaller substation, used for backup, has been able to provide only a small percentage of what was lost on Thursday.

The country’s dictator, Marxist Nicolás Maduro, has blamed the Trump administration for the outage, calling it sabotage, the result of an “imperialist electromagnetic attack.” The New York Times reported the real cause: An uncontrolled grass fire beneath the power station burned a major trunk line, which caused one of its 10 turbines to fail, and when workers tried to restart it, others failed. After four failed attempts, workers were told to take Monday off, leaving Venezuela in the dark for the foreseeable future.

A supervisor in charge of the facility was told by his managers that the plant’s critical infrastructure was heavily damaged following an explosion at a nearby secondary power station during the fourth attempt to restart the turbines. Said Luis Aguilar, a Chicago-based expert on the Venezuelan power industry, “Every time they attempt to restart, they fail, and the disruption breaks something else in the system, destabilizing the grid yet further.”

The Times explained the breakdown in layman’s terms: “Restarting the turbines requires skilled operators who can synchronize the speed of rotation on as many as nine of Guri’s operational turbines.”

The Rest…HERE

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