Massive Blackout Affects Caracas and Several Regions of Venezuela, Labeled as New Attack – Service Restored 100%

Caracas, December 17, 2021 (Orinoco Tribune)—In the early hours of this Friday, December 17, a massive electricity blackout occurred in Venezuela, affecting several areas in the capital city of Caracas and 17 states throughout the country, as reported in social media platforms.

Several parishes in Caracas, as well as various parts of the states of Zulia, Mérida, Carabobo, Miranda, Lara, Aragua, Apure, Anzoátegui, Vargas, Bolívar, Nueva Esparta, Barinas, Trujillo, Sucre, Táchira, Falcón, Yaracuy, and Portuguesa were affected by the blackout.

The blackout brought back memories from March 2019, when a massive outage had left the entire country in darkness—it had lasted for almost 4 days in Caracas but continued for 11 days in other regions of the country. On that occasion, the Venezuelan government attributed the failure to an attack on the principal mechanism of the Simón Bolívar Hydroelectric Plant in Guri, for which several people were subsequently arrested.

This time, the electricity blackout was reported in El Paraiso parish (center) of Caracas at 2:20 am (Caracas time) on Friday, and 10 minutes earlier a power surge was reported in the area where the headquarters of Orinoco Tribune are located. Our team went out to have a better understanding of the situation and found that most of the El Paraiso area was completely in dark without electricity; however some reflection of light was also noticeable in the sky coming from the east of the city as well as from the direction of the Parque Central skyscrapers, and also in the Warairarepano complex and the Humboldt Hotel located at the top of the Ávila mountain.

RELATED CONTENT: Venezuela Holds Strategic Meeting to Strengthen Stability of Electrical Grid

Unlike the 2019 blackout, this time most cellphone services remained active, at least in Caracas, and also in several other cities all over the country, as was reported by social media users.

One of most recurrent complaints of Venezuelans on social media platforms during the blackout, irrespective of their political position, was the lack of communication by government officials informing about the incident and providing at least a basic message on the incident and indicating that authorities were already working to solve it.

Additionally, some right-wingers took advantage of the occasion to attack President Nicolás Maduro, while there were others who even implied that there was some sort of coup d’etat in the making. The latter speculation mostly came from social media accounts outside Venezuela and did not have any basis on the current events in the country and the reality that Venezuela has been living in recent months. Of course, this manipulation attempt did not find much support on social media platforms.

After two hours of blackout, electricity service was restored in El Paraiso at 4:40 am, as we reported in our Twitter account, and minutes before many users on social media platforms were also reporting the resumption of the strategic service. At 5:23 am, Minister of Electrical Energy Néstor Luis Reverol, in a phone interview with Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), informed about the incident and labeled it as a “new attack on the electricity grid” that originated in the Guri hydro-electrical dam in the south of Venezuela, in Bolívar state.

“We have suffered a new attack on the National Electricity System (SEN), specifically in El Guri, said the minister. “Once again, those who were cruel in 2019, havd attacked our people in these December holidays. We are together with the CORPOELEC workforce, and under the guidelines of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, at the head of all the maneuvers for the recovery of the service.”

Guri dam along with the Tocoma, Caruachi and Macagua dams form a massive hydro-electrical system fed by the Caroni river in Bolívar state and provide more than 70% of the electricity that Venezuela consumes. Minister Reverol also informed that the service was being restored gradually and the workers of CORPOELEC have already learnt how to deal with attacks against the electricity grid.

RELATED CONTENT: Detachment of Power Lines Caused Blackouts in Caracas Today, Sabotage Not Ruled Out

“The accumulated experience of our men and women of the workforce of the National Electricity System (SEN), in the electricity war, will soon recover the system,” added Néstor Reverol. “Meanwhile we ask for the support of the people of Venezuela, with conscience and peace we will overcome this vile criminal attack.”

Electricity supply 100% restored
At Friday noon Minister Reverol explained that the electricity supply was 100% restored, and added that the system “remains stable and reliable.” He also announced that investigations have been started at the Simón Bolívar Guri hydroelectric dam to determine responsibilities.

“We want to report that we have recovered 100% of the national electricity system, which a few hours ago was criminally attacked,” the minister said in a telephone interview with VTV.

“We are here in the heart of the National Electricity System, in the Simón Bolívar Guri hydroelectric complex,” explained the minister. “We have recovered 100% of power generation, both hydro and thermoelectric, like all the trunk lines of 765, 400 and 250 kV, and the system at this time is reliable and stable.”

Venezuela’s electricity system has been severely affected in the last decade for the lack of maintenance, mostly a consequence of the sharp reduction in financial resources due to the criminal blockade imposed by Washington and the European Union, decimating Venezuela’s oil exports through criminal sanctions against PDVSA and the Venezuelan State as a whole.

Many local analysts have been warning about the delicate situation of the electricity system in Venezuela due to this blockade and also due to the economic growth reported in the last quarter of 2021, which has a direct impact in the demand of energy and consequently puts additional pressure on the electricity grid. Meanwhile Maduro’s administration has been forging agreements with Chinese companies to strengthen the system and to have it ready for the additional demand expected for 2022, when a GDP growth of at least 5% is expected, as has been forecast by several agencies and international financial institutions.

 

Featured image: Moon in the sky over Caracas during the electricity blackout during the early hours of this Friday, December 17. Photo by Orinoco Tribune.

Special for Orinoco Tribune by Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza

OT/JRE/SC

Want More?

Don't want to be a victim of the Algorithm?

SIGN UP TO RECEIVE OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER WITH ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VENEZUELA

(MONDAY DELIVERY)

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza
Editor at Orinoco Tribune | Website | + posts

Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza is an expert in international relations, Venezuelan politics and communication. He served for several years as Consul General of Venezuela in Chicago (United States) and prior to that he was part of the foundational editorial team of the website Aporrea.org. He is the founder and editor of the Venezuelan progressive website Orinoco Tribune.

Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza

Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza is an expert in international relations, Venezuelan politics and communication. He served for several years as Consul General of Venezuela in Chicago (United States) and prior to that he was part of the foundational editorial team of the website Aporrea.org. He is the founder and editor of the Venezuelan progressive website Orinoco Tribune.