Venezuela was going to cut 20 percent of its electricity consumption in a vast consciousness-raising exercise. Instead, electricity consumption is flat year-over-year as small consumers swamp the huge savings imposed on heavy industry.
The breakdown, utility by utility:
Cadafe is the country’s biggest utility, handling 3 million customers, most of them unmetered small businesses and homes in low-income neighborhoods. Their consumption and peak demand rose year-over-year.
Edelca is the utility that handles the biggest users, such as steel mills, aluminum smelters, and municipal water districts. Their consumption and peak demand are down enough to balance out the increased consumption among most other utilities.
EDC is Caracas’s utility. There was a bit of savings there in January. Flat consumption in February. March, which hasn’t been released yet, will very likely show increased consumption year-over-year, as a heat wave caused demand to rise. (Air conditioning is probably the biggest single energy user in Caracas.)
Enelven is the utility for Maracaibo, the second-largest city. They actually have a relatively smart version of rationing there, in which neighborhoods are excepted from rolling blackouts for the week if in the prior week they saved at least 10% of their power. Sadly, some smarts haven’t been enough to save electricity, as electricity use surged year-over-year.
Enelval, which covers the industrial city of Valencia, predictably boosted energy use. Factories subjected to unpredictable blackouts are working longer hours to make up for the interruptions, and homes have their air conditioning and refrigerators turned up so when the lights go out, they can stay fresh for a while.
Short version: the heavy industry cuts saved our butts this year. We’ll see if power-plant construction can do the same next year.
(March numbers should be coming soon; I’ll update at that point.)