While I was out, Venezuela finally released August electricity numbers. You can see in there that power rationing, which ended in early August, continues to have major effects in the main heavy industries. Edelca, the utility tht provides electricity to the heavy industries, sold 20% less electricity in August than a year earlier. The biggest-conserving months were April and May, when Edelca electricity sales fell 28% year over year. So you can see that heavy industry is starting to come back, little by little. It’s going to be slow, as Venalum, the biggest consumer, is going to take another two years to bring all of its production back on line.
The exception to this tardy restart is in Anglo American Plc’s Loma de Niquel, the only big industrial installation with its own line in the monthly report. You can see that they have boosted power consumption, and most likely that means they are boosting output. The nickel mine in the Caracas suburbs used 50.6 megawatt-hours of electricity in August, the most since April 2009. This indicates that the mine has returned to using two furnaces. One of its furnaces broke down in May 2009 and was repaired in January, according to the company’s annual report.
Speaking of industry restarting after the rationing, this is something to watch to see when the Venezuelan recession is ending. Most parts of the country continue to use less electricity than a year earlier. Some exceptions are Barquisimeto (consumption up 11%) and Isla Margarita (up 9%).