Note: I’m not in Venezuela; I’m in Japan. However, I found this news development particularly interesting.
Energy crises can have weird consequences. Recently, Venezuela’s government reduced its governmental work week to two days in order to save energy and avert energy shortages. The short Reuters article about it (linked here) is an interesting read.
It’s interesting to observe the (unconventional) energy-saving approaches the Venezuelan government has taken. Besides reducing the public sector work week, the government also did an impromptu “daylight savings,” shifting the clocks by half an hour so the sun shines a little later into the day (saving on energy for lighting). The government also ordered malls to have their own electricity generators (which isn’t as much about reducing energy usage as much as it’s about shifting strain away from the main electricity infrastructure). One can argue about the efficacy of these approaches, but I won’t get into that discussion here.
This crisis is also an important reminder of how inextricable energy and water issues are. Venezuela depends primarily on hydroelectric power from its main dam. However, drought has reduced water levels and thus the amount of electricity available in the country. Oops. Such interlinkages between energy, water, and other utilities/services provide a huge challenge (“In a crisis affecting some service, how do we keep interlinked services running?”) but also a huge opportunity (“How can we use one type of utility infrastructure to solve problems with another?”).