Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nation wide electricity outage 

There was something to be said about the nature of our society, not only is electricity undeniably vital, but in Caracas it is so compounded that even an outage that occurs in the afternoon will affect society well into the night.

I left from work at around 4 o clock after the outage hit, some incredibly boneheaded decisions later led me to be stuck in traffic for 4 hours and half, what I observed (when I stopped beating myself up for some really boneheaded ideas borne out of desperation to get home) was both positive and negative.

-There was no regrettable chaos, no looting, no rioting. That said I am thankful the lights were back on before dusk.
-People were pouring through the streets in a calm fashion, the Subway moves half the city's population every single day.
-Hospitals were operating on emergency power (something that did not exist 2 years ago).

-That we depend way too much on hydroelectric power coming from one region, leading to single supply lines
-There were not enough transit officials to maintain order, people got really desperate last night to get home (myself included) and the hellish traffic jams were caused by cars blocking other cars at intersections, nobody obeyed the stop lights, the Libertador and Miranda Ave were like parking lots.
-We are not prepared for an apocalyptic emergency (but then again no city is).

Suffice to say the opposition is having a field day, despite the fact that the originating problem may have been their fault to begin with (that is overeliance on the Caroni hydropower). Whether it was a fire or system failure the result is the same, it was not the nationalization of EDC that caused it (the big hint is that it was nationwide and not just citywide) but a decision over reasonable risk (cheap power over logistical problems)


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